‘Land grab’ claim over work done to open space
REVISED PLAN APPROVED DESPITE OBJECTIONS
A PLAN to bring land into residential use at a Wynyard home has been approved despite claims it was a “land grab”.
The plan for the site at The Stables was retrospective as work had already been carried out, with a wall demolished, a boundary fence erected without consent and land levelled out to create a enclosed second garden level.
It went to Stockton Council’s planning committee for a final decision after the authority said the landowner’s work was unauthorised and unacceptable.
Planning service manager Simon Grundy said: “The matter was picked up on with a planning enforcement investigation. The applicant has already demolished the existing original wall at the rear of the property and incorporated the area of land beyond.
“Following discussions with the applicant, they’ve submitted a revised plan.”
Under the new plan, the applicant will reduce the area of land, remove the fencing and build a new boundary wall with fence at about 1.8m high, in line with neighbouring properties.
According to the council’s report, eight people objected to the proposal, saying work went ahead without consultation, the fence was out of keeping with the area and “has seen another neighbour opposite erect an additional fence”, and “this garden extension has already encouraged others to consider a similar land grab”.
Objections also concerned loss of open space, privacy, visual impact, property values and setting a precedent.
However planning officers recommended the plan for approval.
Mr Grundy said: “The primary purpose of the open space is an amenity area providing an attractive walking route through residential development.
“It’s not considered that the very small area of enclosure will fundamentally affect the purpose of the open space.”
Councillor Barry Woodhouse said: “I do get ever so slightly annoyed. I call it land-grabbing.
“I was minded to refuse it, to be honest. However the proposed plan is far better, it’s an improvement on what’s there... but what’s there at the minute is illegal.”
He suggested to “knock it down, put the boundary back where it was, leave it at that”.
Cllr Paul Kirton said: “It’s about the householder’s privacy and it’s not a land grab. “I can’t see any problem with it.”
The plan was approved with a 10-1 vote.