Need to know

Com­mon sense wins the day

Build It - - NEWS -

Cast your mind back to the Novem­ber 2017 edi­tion of this col­umn. I was be­moan­ing the lo­cal plan­ning depart­ment, who had given per­mis­sion for two houses on a plot op­po­site mine, with ab­so­lutely no con­sid­er­a­tion to the fact that there was no turn­ing head (a Build­ing Reg­u­la­tions re­quire­ment). This would make the scheme un­work­able for the pur­chaser, and ab­so­lutely mis­er­able for any­one liv­ing in the lane, as oil tanker driv­ers and de­liv­ery ve­hi­cles re­alised that their re­vers­ing skills were about to be tested to de­struc­tion. Reread­ing it now, I can re­call how an­gry I was at the time. Not be­cause the land was be­ing de­vel­oped, but by the stu­pid­ity of a plan­ning sys­tem so dis­con­nected from the regs over­seen by the of­fice next door.

I thought I’d give you an up­date. Firstly, that ar­ti­cle I wrote be­came very use­ful. When­ever I saw a prospec­tive pur­chaser com­ing for a view­ing, I’d scurry out­side for a chat, tell them about any­thing they needed to know, and give them a com­pli­men­tary copy of that ear­lier mag­a­zine with in­struc­tions to read my fea­ture. Armed with this in­for­ma­tion, they would bee­tle back to the es­tate agent and tell them that it was a lovely site, but what about the turn­ing head? It had the de­sired ef­fect and be­fore long, the ven­dor was seen pac­ing around out­side, scratch­ing his head and won­der­ing how the plans could be made to work. On one plot, an un­der­ground trunk sewer that couldn’t be built over also com­pli­cated things. It pushed the pro­posed house for­ward, mak­ing the cre­ation of a turn­ing space very dif­fi­cult – which is prob­a­bly why there wasn’t one al­ready.

I found out that a piece of land ad­join­ing the sites had been sold a few years back to in­crease the gar­den of the dwelling next door, and sub­se­quently clawed back. The own­ers had em­i­grated and were rent­ing out their old abode, so they weren’t par­tic­u­larly fussed to lose it. This be­came piv­otal. New draw­ings were pro­duced show­ing how a suit­able turn­ing head could be in­cor­po­rated us­ing this new space. As an added bonus, the very aver­age de­signs that had been sub­mit­ted orig­i­nally to get a ‘foot in the door’ with­out up­set­ting any­one were torn up. A dif­fer­ent ar­chi­tect – this one with a bit of tal­ent – re­drew new pro­pos­als for both homes, which look pretty good. I was re­lieved, be­cause while putting in non-con­tentious (read: dull as ditch water) schemes is a well-known ruse to get plan­ning ap­proval, there’s al­ways a risk that some­one will ac­tu­ally build them!

So now things are go­ing apace. The site is cleared, the houses have been marked out for the foot­ings to be dug and the builders are nice peo­ple who seem to know what they are do­ing. One of them will be liv­ing in one of the prop­er­ties, which is a bonus on many lev­els. I have per­mis­sion to take pho­tos, so I will try to share some of these over the next few months.

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