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Planning disputes

I'm not even sure that "dispute" is the correct term to use but:

Elderly chap who lives in the next village to me who I have known for 40 years lives on a house that backs on to open fields.

As I'm involved with construction, he's asked me for some advice but it's not really my field of knowledge so was hoping someone here may be able to offer some advice.

The farmer who owns the fields behind him is building houses on there right now despite very vocal local opposition prior to planning being granted. It sounds like it's a pretty small/local contractor doing the work and I think possibly it's a company set up just for this project.

Naturally the elderly chap is p1ssed about this and trying to at least make sure that they adhere to the planning permission that was a condition of the development.

There appear to be several things that deviate from the planning consent, in particular but not exclusively, the distance between windows (of the new houses) and there are some obvious breaches of good practice if not H&S law (e.g concrete cutting with abrasive wheels throwing silicone dust into his garden whilst the operative had just pulled his t shirt over his face to shield himself) meaning that he has been unable to uyse his garden all summer.

He's so miffed that he's considering suing them but, right now, he needs to know who to contact to raise the planning issues with - he is getting no joy from the contractor's office (was told to stop emailing them as it was upsetting the secretary!) and can't seem to get anywhere with the local planning dept.

Anyone know who he should contact?
Wilier Izoard XP

Posts

  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 5,684
    Different window spacing isn't a big deal, they would normally run this past the planning officer who would say it's no big deal or they'd have to submit an amendment to the plans which would probably get approved.
    There would have been a case officer assigned to the planning application which you could find out from the planning permission letter/application. He could try contacting them directly with the case reference.

    The dust - he should probably contact environmental health at the council to report the nuisance if it's stopping him using his garden or meaning he has to keep the windows shut. Normal practice is to spray water if there's a lot of cutting going on,
    there may be a condition in the planning permission about this but unlikely.
    Lack of PPE on behalf of the operative isn't something the planners would be interested in, but the HSE might be.
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 826
    I'd suggest that he contact the HSE in the first instance - they are having a big focus on dust control/silicosis at the moment.
    If you can manage to get them to visit a site (might not be easy for a small residential development) then they can make the contractors life very difficult, especially as it sounds like they are failing to comply with pretty basic requirememts

  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 7,078
    monkimark said:

    I'd suggest that he contact the HSE in the first instance - they are having a big focus on dust control/silicosis at the moment.
    If you can manage to get them to visit a site (might not be easy for a small residential development) then they can make the contractors life very difficult, especially as it sounds like they are failing to comply with pretty basic requirememts

    in my experience the HSE visit smaller firms more often than large firms. The prosecutions that come through on the monthly emails are almost exclusively against the small firms.
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  • laurentianlaurentian Posts: 1,923
    Thanks for the info all - very much appreciated. Any further advice would be appreciated too.
    Wilier Izoard XP
  • I am no expert but do know that planning and building control are separate so he should cover both bases
  • sorry just read again. Are they buiding prior to consent being granted?
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 21,007
    The local authority will have a planning enforcement section within their planning department. You should be able to find them through the council website. That would not have anything to do with workmanship on site though. Just building something other than the approved scheme.
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  • ProssPross Posts: 29,934
    He should keep a record of anything he sees that he thinks might be a breach and video / take photos of things that might be issues for the HSE. It might be worth looking at the planning conditions as there may be restrictions on working hours that they are breeching.

    Ultimately though the houses are going to get built so whilst you can try to get the process to be less disruptive and / or be a thorn in the side of the developer eventually he'll just have to accept it. For all the fried large developers get they are generally far better at doing things right compared to the smaller / one off developers.
  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 6,606
    I'd also get someone else to do all his comms as he's winding people up already and so he needs someone who doesn't wind people up to do his comms or they are just going to mug him off.
  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 6,606
    tbh, he's lucky the builder is legit otherwise he's wound them up so badly already its surprising someone hasn't, errr, paid him a visit.
  • laurentianlaurentian Posts: 1,923

    sorry just read again. Are they buiding prior to consent being granted?

    Consent has been granted - sorry for any confusion.

    He is definitely resigned to them being built but is just trying to make sure it is being done in line with the permission granted (and, I suspect, to make it as difficult for them as he can. He doesn't like it and, being a retired gent, has plenty of time on his hands. It is one of those things that seems to be the sole focus of his life at the moment! I'm just trying to give him some objective guidance on what he can do and who to contact to do it.

    The advice above is great - thanks very much all of you.
    Wilier Izoard XP
  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 6,606
    problem with him deciding to make life as difficult as possible for them is if he wants a favour, no matter how small or easy to they will just tell him to jog on fella.

    So that broken fence panel that could have been replaced, that bag of sand he needs to a job, that drain cover that might be goibg "spare", a hand shifting something, that van moving.... nah fella, ain't happenin'

    but hey, choose your battles.
  • surrey_commutersurrey_commuter Posts: 14,814

    sorry just read again. Are they buiding prior to consent being granted?

    Consent has been granted - sorry for any confusion.

    He is definitely resigned to them being built but is just trying to make sure it is being done in line with the permission granted (and, I suspect, to make it as difficult for them as he can. He doesn't like it and, being a retired gent, has plenty of time on his hands. It is one of those things that seems to be the sole focus of his life at the moment! I'm just trying to give him some objective guidance on what he can do and who to contact to do it.

    The advice above is great - thanks very much all of you.
    This moment is likely to last for years so you need to help him accept it, deal with it and move on
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