Probe on garage

PUBLISHED: 17:30 23 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:52 10 June 2010

AN internal inquiry is being launched by district planners after legal action against an East Budleigh homeowner, who controversially built a garage without permission, was dropped. The owner of Brock House, East Budleigh, built a detached double garage,

AN internal inquiry is being launched by district planners after legal action against an East Budleigh homeowner, who controversially built a garage without permission, was dropped.The owner of Brock House, East Budleigh, built a detached double garage, wall and fence without permission in spring 2006.And, following complaints, the details were handed to East Devon District Council planning enforcers for investigation. They have the power to pull down buildings that have not been given the green light.However the owner argued that permission had been given previously - for a smaller garage in a different part of the land in 2003 - leading council officers to recommend 'no further action be taken'. But Budleigh councillor Ray Franklin told the council's Development Control Committee on Tuesday that the owner should be given 'three months' to seek planning approval: "Both the applicant and ward members have not come out of this very well, and that is a fact."This has been going on for four years - it is a really contentious issue in the village, and has been going on too long. I feel badly let down."Cllr Franklin had the backing of most of the council - but Kate Little, EDDC's head of planning and countryside, said that they 'could not force' the applicant to apply for planning permission.She added that enforcement proceedings could only be successful if it was proved the garage affected the 'amenity' of neighbours.She also warned that it was likely that the planning inspector would rule against the council in such a case - and the council would have to pay costs.She said: "A time limit serves no purpose because in three months you would still not have grounds to bring an enforcement action."Budleigh councillor Steve Hall said: "I feel we have been left high and dry - this should never happen again and we need an urgent review of procedures."Raleigh Ward councillor Anne Liverton said: "If you read this report it is clear - we would lose and have to pay costs. We do not stand a cat's chance," she added. Reluctantly I support the recommendation to safeguard the integrity of this council.

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