Development is against policy

I AM writing to voice my anger and disbelief at the lack of democracy and fairness displayed by our borough council’s planning committee on July 17.

A single-storey bungalow is to be demolished at a key corner site of Ashburnham and Godwin Road to be replaced by a modern two-storey house.

The original building was given permission in 1955 and conditions set to keep it low to protect the public amenity of the views of the Old Town and English Channel.

These views are currently enjoyed by many people every day walking their children to the three local schools and by people walking from Clive Vale and Ore to the town. This development will create a barrier between the people of Clive Vale and the Old Town, so the developers can sun themselves on a second-storey balcony, overlooking the gardens and bedroom of elderly neighbours who are very close to the proposed house.

All these points and the fact that the development is happening in Tillington Terrace conservation area were made to the planning committee on July 17. Indeed it was pointed out that the residents, well over 120 in number who have registered written objections in the form of a petition and individual objections, just wanted the development to be kept to one storey, roughly at the existing height.

The development contravenes the council’s own planning guidelines DG7 and DG8 where it states that public views must not be obstructed.

Imagine our dismay when the committee rail-roaded the development led by the chairman Godfrey Daniel, who unbelievably said that the wording in the policies did not mean anything and people who buy land can do what they like with it unless there is a compelling reason to object.

Surely contravening the council’s own planning policies in a conservation area is reason enough to at least adapt the plans?

The developers nor the councillors made any effort to understand the residents’ concerns and were not interested in working with the community to achieve a solution. We were very happy to help and to be open-minded. I have never complained or objected before and I am now left feeling that the planning systems are weighted so heavily against residents that I am dismayed and shocked and left feeling disenfranchised from the political system.

GARETH LUCAS

Ashburnham Road