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Found 9 results

  1. Is Durisol suitable for a garden wall - say a 2m high wall enclosing a back garden, either on the boundary or as a divider? In the past all sorts of materials have been used for garden walls which are then rendered over and capped at the top. I am wondering if Durisol could be used for such a purpose, as it is inexpensive, fast, easily incorporates reinforcement, and is suitable for render. The full above ground sections can probably be done as a single pour after an earlier pour for the foundations, and perhaps the copings can be plonked straight on top of *that*. Compared with the cost of a traditional brick or stone wall, that looks attractive. Does anyone have any thoughts? Ferdinand
  2. This is what a Great Crested Newt with a headache looks like. He was sheltering under a Ground Protection Mat: I had moved it for the first time in 4 years. Why the headache? Because every day for the last God knows how long, I put my foot on his head 20 or 30 times a day as I walk to and from the site: he was smack bang under the middle of the Ground Protection Mat - that alone weighs about 40 kilos. I had driven over the mat with a five tonne digger the other day. He doesn't look too ill, does he? Apologies about the focus, the little bugger wriggled, and I didn't want to hold him for too long. Popped him in the hibernacular, as agreed in the Planning Permission documents. 2 minutes later - gone. He might well have been there since the last bout of heavy rain - when its dry like this they stay where they are. But what a place to choose. Talk about hiding in plain sight!
  3. Set within the Brexit narrative, the author of this article argues that the humble GCN (Great Crested Newt) is a good way of looking at UK Planning issues. I draw your attention to the article because it's not as Ya Boo Sucks as many about the GCN. The article is light on the planning context: it makes no attempt to square the circle - how do you build more houses and not put pressure on the local ecology (GCN or otherwise) ? My principal beef with the article is the reference to an ICUN Database entry and failing to draw attention to the following entry in the record on GCNs. The GCN is of least concern ' ... Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category. Some subpopulations are threatened...' (Accessed 2st March 2018) The CGN is of '... least concern ... ' : I know that very well indeed. The damn (beautiful) things stomp across our living room carpet whenever it's warm enough - across our kitchen floor only to get growled at by our brave tomcat, and get squashed on the road outside our house every time there's heavy rain overnight. The GCN as political football.
  4. I'll keep this short and sweet. Judge for yourself whether my anger is justified. In order to obtain planning permission, we had to have an ecology desk study , a phase one and two ecology survey. That study found that, within National Guidelines, great crested newts were in danger. Finding that out cost a couple of thousand. After planning permission was awarded we needed to implement the Action Plan under the terms set out in our permission. Cost? a further several thousand. I'm so angry, I can't bear to look it up. In the blizzard of local applications for planning permission - and by local I mean 400 meters - the following occurred; Applicant No 1 took our survey (published online - not by us, but the LPA, (Wyre Borough) and used it as their own. No permission was asked. In response to Applicant No 1' Wyre Borough's ecologist suggested that instead of the measures we had to take, No1 merely needed to put up a sign saying the equivalent of Seen a newt? Kiss it and put it in the grass Applicant No 2. No need for a survey Applicant No 2's second application, no need for a survey Applicant No 2's third application, no need for a survey Applicant No 3: - application for permission to build within spitting distance of a pond which I had to have surveyed - so I know for rock bottom certain contains newts (GCNs), was told to put up a sign saying Seen a newt? Kiss it and put it in the grass The system is sick. Ecology has not got its act together. National laws are disregarded. Applicants for Planning permission need to know that before applying for permission - in West Lancashire - Wyre Borough to be specific - you can tip a load of pig manure in a pond and then wait a bit before applying. In addition you can rip your neighbours off by using their survey instead of paying for your own. And finally, Wyre Borough Planning Department does not appear to check any of the advice given by its ecologists. Why would they? Anyone with an ecology degree can set up as an ecologist, and so be recognised as a competent person. Full documentation is available online, and if you wish to PM me, I will gladly supply every reference. I could add the Iinks in this post, but I do not wish to embarrass my neighbours. I do not feel anything like so coy when exposing Wyre Borough to the most severe critique of their practice. How is it that two ecologists can read the same guidelines and come to completely different conclusions? The cost for me several thousand quid. For others, zero. Shame on you Wyre Borough, shame on you.
  5. Our neighbours talk of them in hushed tones. Our friends look puzzled, and then after a few moments get that thousand yard stare. It’s easy to bore people when you mention the humble newt. But people on buildhub.org.uk searching for what to do about them in planning terms won’t be bored. So here is a summary of our experience in the hope that I can save you some time, money and worry. Quick Read: The great crested newt (GCN) is a protected species. It is unlawful to handle them (unless you are qualified) and illegal to -knowingly- injure or kill them. If you live near (250m) a pond, an initial survey must be done to see if they are present (as well as other species). If that initial survey finds evidence of them, a full survey must be done. That survey forms the basis of an application for a license to exclude GCNs from the construction area. The exclusion exercise must be properly run, and can take up to 80 days, during which time no other building work can be done inside the site boundaries. Imagine the rictus grin on our faces when we realised the consequences of our dear dear children’s favourite summer holiday pastime. Fetching buckets full of GCNs from the surrounding ponds and pools and putting them in ‘our’ ponds. We are, even as we speak, trying to reclaim the pocket money we gave them. Ah, such innocent times they were when it ‘were-all-green-fieulds-rouwnd-heer’ earlier last century. GCNs add at least a year to any building project; one bit of building-lore that we were told that seems to be proving to be true. We started planning our Outline Planning Permission application in January last year. GCNs are active when the outside air temperature is (roughly) +7C. And go to bed when it’s less than 7. So that makes their active time from about late April to early October. Right now (January) they are tucked up in bed in a foundation block near you, snoring gently. They are nocturnal beasts: so they are sneaky little things: you might spend all your life never knowing that a GCN is rat-like, never more that 10 meters from where you are. I overstate a little – mostly it matters not a tinkers cuss. But when you want to build, there’s no avoiding the issue. The full pre-planning application survey which must be done by qualified ecologists is, in essence, an educated guess at the population size. That survey (which will focus on other species too) forms the core of the application toNatural England (link last checked January 2015). I thought the survey we paid for was a definitive document. It isn’t. It’s an educated guess. The confidence levels in predicting population size on the basis of the ecologists’ survey is close to zero. Mustn’t grumble eh? We were given full planning permission to build in October 2015 and we've only just been give the EPS Licence (May 2016). A work schedule was agreed in October 2015, but not followed. I have expressed my disappointment in the appropriate places. There's a lesson then. Project management is important - the devil is in the detail. Costs? I’ll do a separate article about that. About £1500 spent getting us this far, and a guess of another £1500 at least for the next phase.
  6. Great Crested Newts. Bless them, and bless the planners one and all. Here we all are a year -closer to two- years later than planned and winter's on its way. The question is simple: buy the expensive stuff now and store, or wait until Spring? Key things to source: Durisol building blocks (a form of ICF) Windows German (yeah, yeah, right) plumbing bits and bobs Here's the RICS on the subject for September Storage is a bit of an issue, and with windows it is an issue - maybe I'll be able to buy now for delivery next year..... I feel an OUCH! coming on. I'm really scratching my head over this one. I'd appreciate a non-political focus on this one please.
  7. Just wondering if anyone has any advice on how to tackle this. I received an email from planning, they got an email from the an environmental planner. Basically a nearby schools is being developed by adding another storey and I believe changing the car park layout. Environmental planner to planning officer: I have recently provided ecological advice to NCC on planning applications at Roade Primary School. At the start of the development it came to light that there was a population of European protected Great crested newts in the pond on the school site. According to the Ecological Assessment supporting permission S/2011/0064/OUT the school pond is adjacent to Land to rear of 33 Hartwell Road. Our applicant’s Ecologists have since gained a derogation licence from Natural England to relocate the population of smooth newts and Great crested newts and created a compensation pond immediately to the north of plot 3s and 4. I therefore thought it appropriate to make South Northamptonshire Council Development Control aware that a derogation licence would be likely to be needed to clear vegetation or to develop the remaining undeveloped land or sites where development is incomplete. I therefore suggest that SNC make the relevant applicants and developer or consultant ecologists aware of the new record for protected species to avoid any infringement of wildlife laws. Planning officer to me: As the owner/developer of plot 3 at the above site, I am forwarding to you an email we have received from Northamptonshire County Council (below). Please note its contents and the potential legal responsibilities for yourself. If protected species are present you must be aware that to proceed with the development without seeking advice from Natural England could result in criminal prosecution. You may wish to contact NCC for further information and/or Natural England for advice on necessary licences. I have full planning permission and there was an ecological report done when the land was being developed. This showed that there was were no newts and the pond within the school was unlikely to support great crested newts. It also stated that the nearest newts were some 5.5km away. So it looks like somehow these newts have travelled the 5.5km or possible the school at some point has introduced them into their pond. I don't know exactly where the new pond is going to be, but it can't be any closer than it already is to my plot and at an absolute minimum, can't be nearer than 25m from my boundary. There is another plot in between mine and the school boundary. I'm panicking a but to be honest and this could be the final nail in the coffin of my self build. I guess my first call has to be to the planning officer and environmental planner, but how could I be affected by newts which are 25m from my boundary? Cheers Vijay
  8. A: When it's a T emporary A mphibian F ence And here for your delectation is a set of photos to explain the idea a bit better; Starting from a Newt's eye view this is the trench that has to be dug all the way round your property. Our ecologist sensibly suggested we use our house as part of the TAF - thus reducing the amount of digging to be done and the mini digger came in handy too; Then the stakes have to be put in to support the plastic fencing Occasionally you need to do a little 90 degree turn in the fence.... fiddly and annoying, but fun in the rain So, not all TAFs are Welshmen.... or plumbers for that matter.
  9. Why does my build require an EPS Licence, and the other new-builds either side of me don't? The problem is simple. People are building and have built either side of my property. For those three -yes three- properties, the planning process has taken no account of the local population of Great Crested Newts. Yet for my build I have had to have the surveys done, had to apply for the EPS licence, and I'm now in the process of fulfilling its requirements. All four of our properties are exactly the same distance from the ponds containing the newts (Great Crested Newts). What's so special about the other three properties that they aren't subject to the same law? I have tried to remedy the situation politely, quietly, diplomatically. But this week a Planning Department straw broke my back. What that straw is doesn't matter. LPAs have a statutory duty to consult all relevant interested bodies before a decision is made in respect of an application. In the case of the other three planning applications all within 50 meters of my property, no account was taken of the duty to protect GCNs. What have I done about it? I have written to the Head of Planning at the LPA explaining the situation, and giving clear evidence that GCNs are being killed, and pointing out that there is a simple avoidable unfairness in the administration of the four separate applications. Mine was the only on which was required to take account of the EPS issue. I have taken the advice of a local planner (the excellent, sharp-minded Jane - details? PM me). Her advice is to go nuclear because of the simplicity of my case. Before I do, I thought I'd run it past you all. Just as a final check before I take to the keyboard in earnest. I am minded to; Inform the Police that there is an ongoing offence against the Countryside and Wildlife Act See the Local Parish Councillor whose remit is planning See the County Councillor who has responsibility for planning Go and see my MP about it (Cat Smith) Write to our Council's Chief Exec and explain that I have raised the issue with the Head of the LPA, but that he avoided answering my question My instinct was at one time to deal with this at as low a level as possible. But not any more. Advice from any of you to back off a bit will be more likely to be listened to than the opposite. "Well, lad, can't take a joke? - Shouldn't have joined then should ya!" That Parachute Regiment Sergeant's admonition lovingly hissed into my ear during the 1970s is easily transposed to; "Can't take a joke? Shouldn't have applied for Planning Permission should I !
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