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JennyMorgan

Planning problem

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http://www.edp24.co.uk/property/curious_broads_planning_row_started_with_letter_to_a_man_who_died_more_than_a_decade_ago_1_4068182

 

I, for one, would rather see decking than the crushed concrete used on 24hr moorings. What is wrong with decking? It's commonly used across Broadland. I feel a great deal of sympathy for these people.

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Too little information in the article to base an opinion for me. On the face of it the BA might be being heavy handed, but, if others have applied for planning permission and been refused, they have little choice but to enforce the regulations irrespective of the couples situation.

It might also be possible that the couple had applied and been refused but went ahead anyway. As Patrick Moore would have said... "We just don't know."

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We don't know, agreed, but decking of one sort or another has been used across Broadland for generations. 

 

It's worth reading the 'planners offer' to the right of the article. Seems reasonable to me.

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"It's worth reading the 'planners offer' to the right of the article. Seems reasonable to me."

 

Yes, I've just read that part. I hadn't noticed that it was part of the same article (What a prat eh?).

It now seems to me that the authority is bending over backwards to accommodate them. I can see the owners point about reducing the value of the property, but it does indicate his building the decking without any (or sufficient) consultation.

What I would be doing now if I were in his shoes, would be to find out what amount of decking needed to be removed to satisfy the requirements of the building regs. If he started working WITH the BA rather than fighting them, a speedier resolution might be found.

It might also be possible that I'm talking out of my backside again!

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I can not see a problem with this outcome , they will have what they want while they own the property.

I don't see a property completely decked as an attractive prospect (IMO).

Also as far as safety goes I find decking unless continually maintained can become quite slippery and dangerous.

I feel they have no case to peruse and are making a mountain out of a molehill (unless of course the reason they put down the decking was to cover these molehills).

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"It's worth reading the 'planners offer' to the right of the article. Seems reasonable to me."

 

Yes, I've just read that part. I hadn't noticed that it was part of the same article (What a prat eh?).

 

prat
noun
informal
 
     1.
BRITISH
an incompetent or stupid person; an idiot.
2.a person's buttocks.
 
 
I or 2? 
;) 

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I really do wish well on the outcome and they do get their decking approved.

 

I was temporarily disabled by a motorcycle accident in my younger days and was on crutches for three months. I was fitter then but a good firm surface was always better to walk on. The lady's safety should come first in my opinion and why should she be denied safe passage to the boat?

 

With regards to what the decking looks like, it is much better to look at than some of the properties at Potter, if anything, due to the state of them, some of them devalue the surrounding properties. 

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You know I wonder why people get so worried about planning and how things look.

 

When I was looking over old photos of my area things have changed so much over the last 100 years – just as Broadland has too – compare the likes of Wroxham now to what it was like in photos even in the 1950’s.

 

When it comes to moorings for so long they were very much ‘natural affairs’ however in recent years they have got a lot more formal.  The posts, the glow in the dark caps along their length, the materials used to head the quays etc all look so tidy and very much not natural.

 

On my recent visit to the Broads I did wonder how it may be if say How Hill or Ranworth staithe did away with annoying gravel and other locations like Cockshoot Broad moorings got rid of their bark chippings in their place had concrete (wait for it) topped with fine gravel when wet – this is what they have done in Beccles as you walk into the town.

 

It looks nice, it is grippy even when wet, it lasts a long time and yet it does not have the problems of being carted back into the boat on your shoes and does not look any less instructive than the current very ‘formal’ moorings.

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Maybe it's just me becoming cynical in my old age, but when something like this arises I always look for the hidden agenda. As MM says there really is very little information about the circumstances in the article but it would appear that this gentleman has decked the majority of his plot as a safety measure for his disabled wife. My issue with this, as Imtamping2 has already raised is that decking is not the safe surface he makes out. When wet it is extremely slippery, especially as it ages.

 

Then there is the issue of the planners offer. A perfectly fair and reasonable proposal in my opinion and credit the Authority planners for finding such a sensible solution, however towards the bottom of that paragraph we read the comment that "it has been rejected as he fears it may devalue the property". Surely it will not devalue the property below what it was valued at before the work commenced.

 

I think that refusal, and the grounds given for it speak volumes.

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Dave, decking is considered to be a structure, and so comes into the 50% plot rule. You cannot cover more than 50% of any plot with extensions, conservatories, sheds, summer houses, decking etc without applying for planning permission

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Added to which if any part of it is more than 30cm above normal ground level it automatically needs planning permission as a "raised platform".

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I'm not suggesting it does Dave, simply answering your point about planning permission and giving examples of why decking might need permission. Given the fact that they are professional and usually competent people I am sure the Authority's planning enforcement officers will have established good reason why the development does need permission.

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I think the outcome is a good one for the owner, the Planning department have been more than reasonable, if the whole point is that disabled access is required for this person then surely when the property is sold it should be returned to lawn..

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Some important background information and detail to this story might prove useful.  Please, therefore, forgive the length of this posting.

 

Mr and Mrs Brown did not install the major part of the decking on their riverside plot.  The original decking was installed some years ago by previous owners, who, we have to presume, did so in the genuine belief that in the Broads, as in the rest of the country, their decking fell within permitted development because it neither exceeded fifty per cent of the plot, not was more than 30cm above existing ground level.   They were not subject to enforcement action.  Mr and Mrs Brown have simply extended the pre-extant decking so that it now reaches their quayheading, thus allowing continuous level access for Mrs Brown to one of two boats bought specially by Mr Brown to accommodate Mrs Brown’s special needs.

 

Mr and Mrs Brown only came to the attention of the planners as a direct result of a letter sent to the Broads Authority which purported to have been sent by one of the Brown’s riverside neighbours.  In fact, the letter had been sent fraudulently by someone who appears to have stolen the Brown’s neighbour’s identity and her riverside postal address.

It should be noted at this juncture that the decking was not extended under cover of darkness, but in full public view.  Despite having a brief to keep a watchful eye out for potential riverside planning breaches, not one of BA’s rangers ever drew the matter to the attention of the BA planners as a possible breach of planning regulation.

 

How did the BA respond to this fraudulent report?  They sent an enforcement officer to explain to the Browns that the decking needed planning approval because it exceeded fifty per cent of the plot and furthermore – and worse - that, if an application were submitted, the BA’s planning officers would recommend refusal.  This was challenged.  The BA backed down because neither the original extent of the decking nor its later addition were even close to the 50% of the plot required to trigger the requirement of a planning application.  It may be that the BA also backed down because there is at least one Thurne bungalow – one built in recent times and with planning permission, is decked over its entire plot – boundary to boundary, front to back.

 

Instead the BA raised a different reason that the decking extension was not considered permitted development.  The reason given that the Browns now had to submit a planning application was that the development – for this was what the decking extension had now become in the eyes of BA’s planners – required planning permission because the development was forward of the building line.  The BA has yet to find in its own records a Repps bank bungalow recently extended and decked along its entire frontage with planning approval for both extension and front-of –building-line decking end to end.  They need to conduct more careful research.

 

The final set of goalposts the BA settled on was that the development was within 20m of a public highway.  And the public highway is what? 

 

a)  The river? 

B)  The public footpath that runs the length over each of our riverside plots?  Or

c)  the A149 running next to the property but several metres above it as the bypass bridge.

 

Are their hidden agendas here?

 

1  The BA has its sights set on other Thurne bungalow plots where, in its opinion, owners may have unlawful development requiring enforcement action.

 

2  The BA doesn’t like the urbanisation of the natural landscape.  I’m afraid that genie was let out of the bottle at the turn of the last century.

 

3  The BA doesn’t like decking to the quayheading.  Apparently a boardwalk is fine.  Decking is not.  The BA sees this decking as setting a precedent.  For the life of me I cannot see how decking laid to the quayheading some thirty years after the first of many Thurneside deckings were laid from bungalow to quayheading can set a precedent.

 

In this instance, the BA has decided not to take enforcement action.  Commonsense would, therefore, seem to suggest that the Browns put in their application in the sincere hope that the planning committee grant them the 106 agreement that was available to the planners as a perfectly sensible compromise many months ago.

 

David Brown has opted not to take this route, because it would give the BA a green light to go chasing after other Thurneside miscreants who dare to put down sustainable natural materials to solve the practical problem of safe riverside access.

 

We live in a world of jobsworths, empire builders and those with a desperate need to justify their professional existence.  Interestingly, the BA implores us riverside dwellers to plant grass and shrubs which it prefers to see.  And if we do?  Guess what?  We then fall foul of the Environment Agency’s Drainage and Flood Defence Byelaws!  We’re damned if we do and damned, it would seem, if we don’t. 

 

The truth of the matter is that most of these 219 riverside properties at Potter, Repps, Martham and Ludham have improved beyond all recognition in the last thirty years, not because of planning regulation, but despite it.  One should never confuse contravening planning law with upsetting someone else’s sense of aesthetics.  

 

David Sanford

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David, an excellent and informative submission on your behalf, for that I thank you. I'm not sure why decking, rather than boardwalks or jetties, is so offensive to the Authority.

 

There are people who are finally standing up to this petty interference. I know of two friends who have, one won, even gaining compensation, and in the other case the 'Authority for the sake of Authority' backed down, having, in so many words, been told to take a jump. 

 

I agree, Shed City is, by and large, a cracking example of community pride and, despite the planning department, a great credit to all concerned. I never cease to enjoy passing along the Thurne at Potter.

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Quick question, Does the decking WHEN INCLUDED with the total buildings take the coverage to over 50%?

In our area that would cause it to require PP to be refused

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HI MM

 

If you added the total area of everything man-made on this plot, including the bungalow, the decking and a single very small shed, it still would be considerably less than half of the area of what is, by River Thurne plots standards, a largish plot.  The BA very naughtily fails to acknowledge in any of its submissions to its planning committee, written or in plan form, that all of these riverside plots extend a significant distance marshwards of the public footpath that crosses each of our plots.  The Broads Authority's measurement of the plot lops 210 square metres off the plot's area.  The BA's submission also states that the decking is along the entire frontage.  It isn't.  I haven't measured it, but I doubt that it extends to a third of the full river frontage.

 

Swift (Expilot)

David Sanford

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And there's me forgetting my manners again!  Sorry JM.  Forgot to thank you for the compliment.  

 

We do our very best to maintain these historic properties.  I note that in Potter Heigham's apparent takeover of the EDP today, even chez nous (Tower View) gets a mention by way of a photograph as being heritage listed.

 

Expilot

 

 

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do you think if you asked to put part of a shelter skelter on a plot and convert it into a chalet you would be granted planning permission?

 

probably one of the top 5 most photographed buildings in Broadland..

 

why stick with what you have got when things could be so much better,...

look at the Shoreham houseboats, constantly evolving and of massive interest to visitors to the area..

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should be watching Chanel 4 now!

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do you think if you asked to put part of a shelter skelter on a plot and convert it into a chalet you would be granted planning permission?

 

probably one of the top 5 most photographed buildings in Broadland..

 

why stick with what you have got when things could be so much better,...

look at the Shoreham houseboats, constantly evolving and of massive interest to visitors to the area..

Used to be Hunset Mill!!

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Thanks David (Swift (Expilot))

Very interesting but it does lead me out of curiosity to ask another question.

First I must point out that I'm not being contentious here, I am genuinely curious.

If one has a plot of land and a public footpath runs through the middle of it, Is it still classified as just one plot of land or does it become two. Further, if it remains counted as one plot, what is the maximum size "split" that one can have before it becomes two.

My sisters land which is pretty much a square, has a footpath across the back and another along one side. There is waste land across the side and common land along the back. My thought would be that if she purchased the waste land (which is unsuitable for building) could she then include it in her existing land and call it one plot.

I realise you cannot give me a definitive answer to this, but mention it to illustrate my question.

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Definitive answer coming up  :)

 

Each of our riverside plots has a public footpath crossing it.  If it were a farmer's field, would the farmer be required to discount one side of his field or the other for planning purposes?  

 

These plots are held leasehold from TBMC Ltd - itself a leaseholder of the Environment Agency.  As such, all 184 leases are registered with Her Majesty's Land Registry.  On the Title Plan, each plot is very very carefully and clearly defined as extending from the river frontage to the line of the old soke dyke. For our sins we are obliged to maintain the river frontage quayheading, the public footpath and the soke dyke bank to the rear of each property. 

 

In this particular instance, it matters not a jot because the 50% "rule" has not been broken - whether you include the marshward side of the footpath part of the plot or not.

 

Expilot

 

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At the end of the day I rather suspect that the Authority has offered concessions as a 'mutually' beneficial way out rather than to simply back down and lose face.  

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EDP reporting again. That is a narrow boat in the picture NOT a long boat. They were used by Vikings and I haven't seen any of them since at least 2003.

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