Council did not know the rules

PUBLISHED: 16:19 15 October 2009 | UPDATED: 12:06 10 June 2010

REGARDING?the Journal article of August 27 about a planning application for replacement windows. This is a copy of letter sent to Exmouth Town Council.

REGARDING?the Journal article of August 27 about a planning application for replacement windows. This is a copy of letter sent to Exmouth Town Council.

I was very surprised to discover the town planners were unaware that planning permission is required for the replacement of windows in a flat.

How can our elected representatives reach balanced and informed decision if they do not know the rules?

No wonder a mere mortal like myself found it incredulous that planning permission was required for such an improvement.

I thought the planners at Knowle were having a joke at my expense, but then I do not think planners make jokes, do they?

I was informed flat dwellers do not have "right of development" and, therefore, planning permission is required. I also discovered, when paying the fee, that a flat is not classed as a "dwelling" and, therefore, you do not pay the standard fee of £150, but a higher amount of £170, which is also the fee for the erection of new buildings and more major works.

Having filled out the necessary forms for this very important application, I took them to the East Devon District Council planning offices to check I had completed them correctly because of the jargon and less than helpful or correct "help notes" supplied.

I was later contacted and told I also needed to supply a "Design and Access Statement", although the forms had been checked by an official.

This, I thought, was another joke, but, alas, no. I was advised what to put in the statement, including a note advising that access to the flat would not be affected. This, despite an application which included photographs of existing windows, drawings of the replacements and a plan of the flat, referencing the photographs and drawings to the plan. I thought this was overkill, especially when the addition of a statement was also required.

I am so glad the application was not for something of more importance and significance, otherwise I think I would have given up and emigrated.

As the replacement of windows in a flat appears to be such an important planning requirement, should the local authority, or maybe the national government, not make this information more widely known to the general public.

Not to provide this information is to allow many Exmouth residents to unwittingly break the law. It is not sufficient to leave it to the window suppliers, as they are not at all clear on this subject.

Just think how much the local authority is losing in charges by not enforcing this rule more equitably, may be enough to reduce the Council Tax.

R C Batten.

Flat 3, Cyprus Court,

11a Cyprus Road, Exmouth.


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