• Planning problems and people......

    Well it's been a difficult few weeks with one thing and another. On the house side, the fireplace has been built and looks quite odd just standing in the middle of the foundations. The timber frame has been delayed and delayed again but we're hopeful it will arrive at the end of next week, 11th/12th October. To be honest, the weather was so appalling last week it's a good job it was delayed. Am still deliberating on the kitchen, flooring and bathrooms and really hoping that once the frame is up it helps to clarify things a bit.

    We are having a few problems with planning. The original planning application was granted, after much ado, to the previous owner after she had to jump through hoops to prove there was a need for her to live on site to tend to her alpacas. When we bought the land with planning permission we checked it out with the council at length to ensure that it was all above board for us to buy and build the house, as we would be fulfilling the agricultural tie by having our own alpaca business on site, but weren't operating under the same business name. We have it in writing that the clause had been fulfilled and the house could be built..

    Fast forward 4 months and much time and money has been spent researching, meeting with designers, getting quote etc. The result is a timber framed, eco friendly and self sufficient home. As we are going off grid (because the neighbours who objected to the build also wanted a ridiculous amount of money to cross their land to connect to an electricity pylon) the house will be relying on the sun's rays to power itself. In order to maximise the solar gain we wanted to pull out the back wall of the house by a metre to meet the approved overhanging roofline and therefore avoid shadows. This would also provide us with a plant room to store the tanks etc necessary for our energy efficient house. The council advised that this couldn't be considered as a non material amendment as it changed the look of the rear of the house but to be honest, no one would have noticed! So we had to employ the services of an architect, again, and submit a new planning application for a site that was already a very sensitive one. We were reassured by the planning department that as this was an amendment to the original granted planning permission there would be no need to satisfy the agricultural need again. James met with the neighbours who had objected before, explained what we wanted to do and why, and that the house was still within the 200m2 that we were allowed. One was impossible to get hold of so James left a letter explaining and the other signed and said he had no objections. However, surprise surprise, both objected at the final hour. Both objections were almost word identical and both had nothing to do with our small change but everything to do with their reasons for objecting to the original permission, for which we have consent.

    It's very frustrating and extremely stressful. Our neighbour has also "offered advice" about our ponies that isn't wanted, needed or appreciated. She has made certain assumptions and is suggesting that we aren't considering their welfare which is frankly upsetting and quite rude. I have decided that any more letters she places in our post box will be burnt before reading as it upsets me so much.

    I can't understand how people think they have a right to interfere and try to spoil what others do. The only thing I can think is that they have had peace and quiet for 15 years whilst they have lived their dream and they're not keen on anyone else doing the same. It's selfish and short sighted as we WILL be neighbours and unfortunately such unfriendly behaviour tends to breed. I will try my best to keep smiling, though my teeth with be gritted!

    Have also lost my uncle this month to cancer at the age of 64 which has been very upsetting. And our house sale has fallen through.

    But, we had a baby cria, another girl, on 17th September. She's dark brown and was very small, a whole 3kilos smaller than Annie, but appears to be doing well and gaining weight. We've called her Alice. We've also undertaken some more matings and are waiting for scans to confirm more pregnancies. Our ponies have come on leaps and bounds and we've taken them out for a few walks. We're hoping to collect the boys next week, once they've been weaned. We have also entered a fleece competition with Limelight who has an amazing fleece and we're hopeful he will become a stud.

    So there have been some nice parts to the past month but lots of stress, tears and frustration. I find people unbelieveable at times! I know building your house is stressful but it's not the house that's causing the problems!!

    And breathe.......!

    1 Comment

    • 1. Oct 2 2012 7:56PM by Theo (Frank) Martin

      We are sympathetic with your plight, as we also have awkward neighbours but keep your spirits up - you'll win in the end. Some people simply complain on principle.

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