Once upon a time there was a little farmer who lived down a dead-end little country road – appallingly full of ruts and potholes. He’d inherited a little farm – too small to make a living, and worked for others for ten years, saving every penny, to buy another little farm, which he could only afford because it was also too small to make a living. He paid for it, and the land-transfer tax which they told him went to pay for ‘services’ – like roads, as that was really the only ‘service’ he got – and not much of that. The second farm didn’t adjoin – it was on a parallel equally rutted public road. To get from one to the other was a ten mile drive. He had to do that four times a day – but he could farm.
Now between the two farms was a third – a worthless, stony piece of land, which, if he crossed it made it a mere mile between the two fertile little farms. The owner refused to let him cross, but offered to sell, at a price way above the land’s worth.
The little farmer saved his pennies again, because 40 miles a day over those appalling council-maintained roads was killing him and his little vehicle, and bought it. He paid for it – and more land-transfer tax to pay for those ‘services’ like the roads, which made him buy it.
The next while he was happy – he could drive cross country, from one farm to the other. Things were better. It was still bumpy and slow, so he decided to bring his tractor across and make a track. So he started. It was just a rough track, but it was still a lot better than the council roads, and it was only a mile instead of 10.
So there he was… and the council (you know the people who got money to maintain the roads, from that and his annual ‘land tax’ or ‘rates’) call him up and say ‘You’re building a road. We drove past and saw. You haven’t got a road-permit.’
“It’s a track on my own land. I’m allowed to do that. The law says so.”
“It’s a road.”
“It’s farm track!” and this goes on for some time, back and forth. In the end the council official refuses to listen and demands the farmer get a road inspector – and threatens to confiscate his land otherwise. And threatens him with penalties for driving on an illegal road and building it. Now, the farmer is dead to rights. BUT a road inspector gets no money for inspecting farm tracks which don’t need permits or inspecting.
The farmer is scared of losing his land, and can’t afford lawyers and besides wouldn’t know where to start, and he doesn’t want bills and stress and uncertainty. So, gritting his teeth he agrees to the road inspector. It can’t be that bad, surely? The council official says no it won’t be. It’ll be quite cheap to make it legal. But he can’t use the road in the meanwhile.
The road inspector (who is not actually qualified to determine if it’s a farm track – his licence restricts him to public roads or toll roads for use by the public – but that doesn’t stop him or the council official) says well… it’ll become a road once you complete it according to regulations. No, it wasn’t a road, and they can’t penalize you for having built it and driven on it. It’ll be a toll road even if no but you uses it. But you either have to demolish it or build it, and you can’t just drive cross country. But don’t worry, it won’t be that bad.
Needless to say, it is worse. For the paperwork they insist on: the farmer needs a surveyor, so it can be properly surveyed. Then he needs an official soils test. Then he needs a certified road-designer, and the road must be built to the state standard- which is WAY better than the council-maintained roads. And he must have an environmental impact and a fire risk assessment. And then he can’t get his tractor and build it – as he has all the other roads on the farms and the farms he worked on to earn money… no he must hire a machine, a qualified operator, and certified road builder. By now the bill is higher than the cost of the farm, but the poor little bloke keeps being told he’ll lose it all unless he co-operates. He’s constantly threatened and abused by the council official- still driving 40 miles a day, stressed, tired and even poorer, but he has no choice.
Eventually, the road gets built. The council official gives him the usual buckets of shit about trivia that a highway in town would not have, let alone the council’s own roads, and makes him get things added and redone. The road inspector passes it, and gives him bill that makes his eyes water. The council charges him huge permit fees, fore and aft.
But he has a road between his two little farms. It’s his private road. It takes as long to drive as the track he pushed with the front-end loader bucket on his tractor. It cost as much again as another small farm.
And then along comes the council official. “We’ve come to assess the value of your land. Now, we see you have this road…”
“Yes,” says the farmer. “I have this road. You made me put it in. I have all the permits. It cost me a fortune, and you got paid a lot of money for causing nothing but a lot grief, and adding no value at all.”
“Well,” says council official, “It has improved the value of your property.”
“At my expense, at your insistence, in ways I neither needed nor wanted! Profiting you and the road inspector, and dozens of others you insisted I have, who added no value at all. The track I had was good enough and all I wanted, and it was better than your roads are then, let alone now.”
“So your land is now worth three times as much. Your annual land taxes will be tripling.”
Government and bureaucrats.
Here to help you.