Developer accused of trying to "dodge" planning rules given permission to build flatsBy Becky Barnes
October 25, 2012
A developer accused of trying to ‘dodge’ planning rules has been given permission to add to a block of flats, despite 16 objections.
However, Cover Homes Limited must comply with an ‘ingenious set of conditions’ when it adds 11 dormer windows to 12-flat Block A of Christine Ingram Gardens, Priestwood.
Bracknell Forest Council’s planning committee set eight conditions to prevent additional flats being built without planning permission, at its meeting on Thursday, October 18.
Attempts to add more flats to blocks A and B have been thrown out by the committee three times since 2008 and two have failed planning appeals.
Cover Homes applied to add the windows, but proposals were drawn up with nonexistent stairways, sparking concerns there were plans to build more homes and to eventually add a second floor of flats.
One letter of objection from a neighbour accused the developer of attempting to use ‘various devious means to circumvent planning laws’.
Another claimed Cover Homes were trying to ‘circumvent the previous refusal’ and get an application ‘through the back door’.
The overriding concerns were more homes would reduce privacy as they would overlook other windows, over-development and there not being enough car parking spaces to cope with more residents.
Bracknell Town Council backed the neighbours and recommended refusal. There were no letters of support for the plans.
Neighbour Alan Thomson, of Woodland Crescent, spoke at the meeting and said the application would enable the developer to build flats in the roof space without further planning permission.
He said: “There is a history of the developer saying one thing and doing another – they have abused the process.”
Photos of Christine Ingram Gardens’ doorbells and letter boxes with blank spaces were shown to the committee by council officers who said this implied intention to build more flats.
Councillor Andy Blatchford said: “It is disgusting – they shouldn’t be allowed to do it. This is the best we are going to get with this ingenious set of conditions.”
Planning chairman Cllr Colin Dudley said: “If it is their intention to build more flats then this is the very best we can come up with.”
Permission to build the dormer windows was granted but conditions were set out ruling additional independent accommodation could not be built without additional planning permission.
The reason given for this was ‘in the interests of proper planning’.