I have finally lost all faith in planning laws and regulations.
My neighbour obtained permission to build a two story family extension to her semi. Clauses were attached to the build to ensure that the extension could only be used for family use. I spoke to the planning office for clarification on the purpose of the clauses and I was told that it was to avoid the owner renting out the property as the small rural area in which we live could not accommodate additional vehicles, traffic etc. Great! I thought, good forward thinking as the small car park we share is already overcrowded.
Two years of building later and the moment the builders moved out a for-rent sign went up and a tenant moved in.
The local planning department were called in as there was an obvious breach of the original planning permission. The plans had been completely changed for the purpose of housing a tenant.
Here is where I get annoyed. The tenant has two vehicles, which have restricted existing residents from parking and there has been a significant increase of traffic to the property. All the council are able to do is advise the owner to submit retrospective planning which now comprises of permission being requested to convert the extension into a separate dwelling altogether. Whilst I have been told that this is highly unlikely to succeed, the process may take up to two years before any enforcement action could be taken. We therefore have no choice but to accept that parking and traffic will be problematic for this period.
What I do not understand is that if the clauses in the original planning permission were included to avoid this happening and protect the local community and residents, why the local planning office cannot take affirmative action to correct the fault immediately. What is the point of applying clauses? Is this a normal process? If so, surely there should be some review of the laws to protect those that are vulnerable to projects such as this.
The neighbour openly admits that this was her original intention right from the start and was done purely to provide extra income from her property.
It makes me sick !