Planning Permission Madness

Jan Leeming

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Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

PLANNING PERMISSION - MADNESS

Date: 22nd January 2013

PLANNING PERMISSION

I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that the world, in many respects, has gone mad.

I live in a flat in a large converted house built around 200 years ago and of no particular architectural merit. There are eight flats and over the years since conversion people have ‘done their own thing’ so there is no continuity with regard to windows. Some retain the original wooden sash windows and some have double glazing in different styles.

When I moved in ten years ago, in my large living room there were two bay windows – one very tastefully double glazed and the other wooden and falling apart. After a while I had that double glazed in keeping with the design of the window as it had been as I did my bedroom and the kitchen. The kitchen had to have a moveable window because that is where the furniture goes in and out on removal day. At the time I thought my sojourn here would be temporary and didn’t go to the expense of double glazing the spare bedroom and the bathroom.

The spare bedroom became my study in which I spend more time than any other room in the house apart from, perhaps, the bedroom. When the builder bought and renovated the flat he economized on the radiators and the heating in the study is not fit for purpose and it is the coldest room in the flat being North facing.

A couple of years ago, and in an effort to save on the heating bills and the environment I decided to have the remaining windows double glazed. Imagine my surprise when I was told by the same company who’d carried out the work in 2004 that they couldn’t undertake the work because our house is now at the very outer limit of the conservation area and I had to have planning permission. I totally agree with the preservation of beautiful buildings etc and we have a lovely conservation area in the middle of Deal. Conservation I could understand if the house were of architectural beauty and the windows in all the flats were uniform – but it isn’t and they are not. And the conservation rule has only been recently applied. I wouldn't have minded paying the £150 to the council to submit the  planning permission application but when I saw the half inch thick wedge of paper which required filling in, my heart sank – architectural plans for a window? I ask you!! I even begged a surveyor to fill the forms in for a fee which he politely declined. I cannot begin to tell you the ridiculous lengths they go to with the form filling – and a huge amount is totally irrelevant.

Again if the double glazing in other flats were uniform or if the old wooden windows were everywhere, perhaps I could understand but I’m afraid I just thought it was unnecessary legislation. So I gave up on the idea.

Over the intervening two years the heating bills have escalated to a ridiculous degree and to be in any way comfortable in my study I have to use an oil fired radiator which eats up the electricity. So I’ve gone for the cheaper and not so aesthetically pleasing option of secondary glazing.

I doubt that we would be able to put solar panels on the roof either - even though I doubt they could be seen from the ground as it is a three storey building.

When I see genuinely beautiful buildings pulled down and the sites ‘developed’ very often by unscrupulous people who know how to get around the planning laws, I see various shades of ‘RED’.

Anyone else agree with me? Jan
 

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.