(Published in The Observer of 25 april 2004).
The High Court case between Triodos, the Bristol-based ethically-minded bank, and Crickhowell televillage developer Ashley Dobbs has ended with the judge finding in the bank’s favour.
Dobbs had criticised Triodos, banker for the innovative Crickhowell project in South Wales, after his company, Acorn Televillages, was forced into receivership. But the High Court judgment exonerates Triodos’s actions and those of its senior management at the time.
Mr Justice Lewison described Dobbs as a ‘man of vision’ who nevertheless lacked the financial management skills for the project. Triodos, he said, had acted with ‘sympathy and forbearance’ towards Acorn.
The judge found Triodos technically liable for a breach of responsibilities towards remedying snags on the estate, although he suggested that this merited only nominal damages of £2. Dobbs, who has the right to further legal action in this respect, described the judgment as ‘disappointing’ and said he was considering his options.
Triodos announced last week that it has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, one of seven awards made to businesses this year for promoting sustainable development.