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Sue B

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Sue B last won the day on April 12 2019

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    Christchurch, Dorset

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  1. We have a ditch to the front of our property and we want to discharge our mew sewage treatment plant into that. I did a pre-application request with the EA and got a really helpful - “it’s all on the website” reply. We will need a permit as we are within 400m of a SSSI. Talking to providers of STPs their advice has been do it, then do the permit with the EA and it will just be accepted. He couldn’t see an issue with discharge into the ditch.
  2. We would be drowning! We are not quite on the flood plain but our road turns off from Marsh Lane - there is a clue there ?
  3. Funnily enough, my conversation with the enforcement officer yesterday did talk about permitted development - it’s hard to see if we still have it or not at the moment. So he said he’d look for me - he actually seemed like a decent guy. I said if we did still have it, I would find numerous “sheds” built quite nicely that all fitted together...
  4. How long ago that all seems. The architect came back with essentially the same design but with a pitched roof - making the house a chalet bungalow. I had told them that I was happy to remove a bedroom to reduce bulk but they said it wasn't necessary. I really liked the look of the new house - flat roofs were never a choice I was completely happy with but merely to give choice for solar panels. Anyway... Planning went in early November and was accepted by the end of the month with a decision date of 15th January. January came and went, as did February, March and April. We phoned, our agent phoned and emailed. We were told that workload was a real issue for the planning department - oh how we sobbed for their poor little paws, grinding away at their WFH desks, not actually giving us a decision on our planning. In the end, on Tuesday this week, I emailed a complaint to the council complaint email address, copying in my two local councillors and my MP (Sir Chris Chope of the Upskirting fame ?). By Tuesday night I had a response from one of the councillors promising to investigate the next day. My complaint had a bit of background and then ... My questions are therefore: Why bother having a decision deadline if there is no attempt to meet it? How long can we reasonably be expected to wait before a decision is made? What are the consequences of us starting work now due to your inability to make a decision? I believe that we have now reached the point where your silence can be accepted as approval by default. You have failed to reject the application, therefore it is passed. What recompense will you offer for the ridiculous delay? We have requested a telephone call so that we can at least have a discussion about the likelihood of the application being successful – the chance to put things right if the outcome is going to be rejection. We hear nothing. We offer an extension – gratefully accepted but the extension deadline comes and passes with no news. You are playing with peoples lives – it is immoral and a failure of your core duties as a council. Under the freedom of information act, I am now formally requesting a detailed breakdown of: Number of applications made for each calendar year going back to 2017 (and year to date for 2021) The average number of days an application had to wait between submission and acceptance for each of those 5 years and for this part year to date. The number of applications that were decided upon earlier than the deadline date The number of applications that were decided upon later than the deadline date The average number of days late for all late decisions, per year, for each of the 5 years and one part year. The average number of days early for all early decisions, per year, for each of the 5 years and one part year. For all rejected applications: The number of applications from developers The number of applications from self builders / home owners The number of applications that councillors had declared an interest in. For all approved applications: The number of applications from developers The number of applications from self builders / home owners The number of applications that councillors had declared an interest in. The reason for requesting this information is my need to see if all members of the public are treated this badly or if we are a special case. We just want to get on with our lives and we are getting to an age where time is against us and we may not be able to actually build our house due to the delays we have encountered. I knew I was stirring a hornets nest but figured I had little to lose. The response was fast and furious - by Wednesday evening the agent (architect) had received the (non) decision notice... You are hereby advised that the Council has invoked its power under Section 70(a) of the Town & Country Planning Act (1990) to decline to determine your application. In accordance with the legislation, your application is regarded as withdrawn and no further action will be taken in respect of the proposal. There is no right of appeal against the Council invoking its power under Section 70(a). We will arrange for your application fee to be refunded. If you wish to submit a further application for the replacement of this dwelling, you are advised to use the Council’s Pre-application advice service first in order to ensure you are addressing the reasons for the dismissal of the previous appeal. This will involve a significant reduction in the height, bulk, floorspace and footprint of the current proposals in order to comply with green belt policy. So we now have NO planning permission in place for any dwelling on our site. The agent has never heard of the council (he used to work for them) deciding to decline to determine the application. Chope has responded sympathetically (but with no offer of helping to stop the nonsense that goes on in council offices) stating that regardless of the outcome, the council could and should have made the decision months ago. Then to make things even weirder, I get an email from the planning enforcement officer offering to come and speak with me to move things forward. We spoke yesterday and it seems they were worried I was going to start building the house that we got planning permission for in 2017 that expired during the time of waiting for a decision. He totally understood my frustration of course - but advised us to go for pre-planning advice - oh how I laughed! I explained the waiting time for pre-planning advice and the futility of asking for advice from planning officers (we have 50+ years of local government service between Peter and I to know what planners are like). Next step - hornets nest is already angry, probably worth adding to it so the next FOI request will be how many times have the council declined to determine an application and also a SAR to see what they have in their records about me.
  5. You’ll hear this endlessly- plots are hard to come by. Plots need planning permission or the probability of being able to get planning permission. They need access to a road. They need access to services (water and electricity as a minimum) as these are expensive to bring in. You probably need to be able to buy the plot for cash - most lenders won’t lend on land. That is why most of us who self build are older - the younger generation are generally not “cash rich” enough to self build unless the land is gifted to them. The final requirements are tenacity, patience and sheer bloody mindedness.
  6. We did a large extension on our first house which was an end of terrace with a pre-existing single storey extension on the full width at the back. We went on top of the existing rear extension using the 45 degree limit to take that to 2 storey and then a 2 storey side extension all the way down the house. We’d never have got away with (or kept happy neighbours) if we’d gone 2 storey over the whole of the back.
  7. I’d lose 4cm to be able to not worry about it. If 4cm are going to make a material difference to your enjoyment of the extension, it’s not worth building ?.
  8. We use water heavily in summer as we have a large kitchen garden and fish pond. We are putting together a collection of IBCs that will see us through (we hope) the hottest part of the summer. We regularly empty out some water from the pond to water the kitchen garden and are intending to replenish from the IBCs. It is a big pond with very large koi carp. We also have a problem with flooding at the front of the plot and the soak away is in the front paddock. Our thoughts are to reduce the water going into the soak away as much as possible so that the water coming off the drive can soak into the front paddock instead. We have also widened the ditch bordering the plot at the front to cope with excess rainwater. We have five IBCs set up in series collecting water from the house. This will be used to water the (yet to be created) flower beds in the front paddock. We will have two more in the front paddock collecting water from a shed. Two IBCs on one side of the “car port / shed / utility room” and one on the other (a symmetric roof). Five more IBCs in the kitchen garden. We know we will be pumping water from one place to another to get it where it is needed and create capacity in the collecting IBCs but putting it all together we are hopeful it will work for us. We do not intend to use any of the water collected for use in the house - it is all for the garden / pond.
  9. Our water supply was apparently brought in by using a mole. The previous owner of our place worked for the gas board and I think he had access to equipment from them. It comes across a field of about 60m which had a large number of trees (and therefore roots) in the way.
  10. Not sure why there are two videos - I had trouble uploading it and it seems there are two - I can’t delete the one that has nothing in.
  11. Today the IBCs were connected together. Tomorrow we will fill with some water to look for leaks. We ummmd and arghd for a while about burying them or covering them in black plastic to reduce algae. In the end we decided not to worry - algae on the kitchen garden isn’t a worry to us. Time will tell. Next step is to link the last 2 IBCs that will actually collect the water off the roof and buy the pump to move the water from there to the kitchen garden. 9EBF65A3-B0CC-4F49-8ACC-C3AADF5E87F3.MOV AD1FE16D-C4CE-4E8E-8FE6-E4322DA3DDDE.MOV
  12. We are a mile from the cabinet. The copper cable comes through trees all the way down the lane to us. We get full fibre to the house Friday week. You would not believe how excited I am. There are times when I am working from home where we turn every single wi fi device off so that I can log on. Interesting that OH has just got a new phone - a Huawei. I know when he has come into range of the house WiFi before he arrives. It steals every bit of bandwidth available! This is our current speed
  13. The fish pond has been finished for a few years now. The fish have been busy getting on with life and last year, the numbers exploded. The filter pump has just broken - something to do with a kamikazee slug shorting out the motor. Luckily Peter noticed the same day as in the hot weather the fish would have died quickly without the pump working. Hopefully it will be back to normal next week when the repaired unit is back and functioning - the water normally looks a lot clearer. Anyone want any koi carp?? IMG_1907[1].MOV
  14. During the year of waiting for the planning refusal, we (or more accurately Peter) has been busy in the gardens, getting things sorted. The kitchen garden is coming along nicely. The trees and bushes have settled down and it looks like we are in for a bumper crop this year. We have 6 IBCs that will be filled over the winter to use in the drier months. We have an additional 2 IBCs by the house which will collect the initial rainfall, before it is pumped to where we need it in the kitchen garden. The connectors to link the IBCs are on order and should arrive next week. The fencing is failing but replacing it properly is eye-wateringly expensive. The hammering you can hear in the background is Peter fixing the best bits of wood he can find, replacing the completely rotten bits. IMG_1904[1].MOV
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