Situation in a cul-de-sac

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Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:15 pm
Location: London

Situation in a cul-de-sac

Post by Hercules » Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:57 pm

Hi All! I hope you can help me with this.

I live in a property at the end of a very short and narrow one lane road. The end of the road used to be delimited by an 8 foot wall which was taken down in 2006 and replaced with a steel gate by an adjacent Council owned School.

In a letter from the School, residents were informed that the gate was to be used for a limited period of time to allow for “temporary access... to facilitate deliveries and site access during the refurbishment” of the School buildings.

No notice was ever given to residents about this work and the gate has been in place ever since.

In March this year the School applied for planning permission for the conversion of what they termed "the temporary gate" into a permanent gate to the school playground. The Council Committee unanimously refused planning permission for the temporary gate to be turned into a permanent access stating that the cul de sac was an unsuitable entrance and that, as the School already had 3 additional entrances located minutes away there was no need for a 4th opening. The Sub-Committee also noted that my road was not considered suitable for trade traffic, that continuous usage of the gate would bring about a loss of residential and visual amenity, increased noise and activity as well as loss of privacy by way of overlooked windows.

Following the ruling, residents received a note from a senior planning officer, stating that “the issue raised concerning the temporary gate at the above site address will be investigated and appropriate action taken to remedy the alleged breach of planning control”.

I wrote to the officer requesting an update on the status of the illegal temporary gate and in his correspondence, the officer stated that he had “spoken to the school and asked that the gates be removed and [the] wall reinstated and allowed 28 days for this to be done”.

Unfortunately after the deadline had passed and following “discussions” with the School, the officer contacted me and noted that there was “nothing [he was] personally able to do on this at present” as the School had “failed to take action” and were “looking to appeal the original planning decision while asserting that the gates are necessary in relation to ongoing building works”.

The officer added that “from an enforcement point of view…the School is obviously council owned so we cannot take formal action to have the gate removed as we often would” and that “the 28th day request for action is an arbituary [sic] time period…[that] holds no legal significance in terms of enforcement”.

At this point the School applied for a fourteen month extension of the temporary planning permission for a gate to retain the gate and sent out a letter stating “To ensue the safety and security of the school pupils and to ensure segregation of the school and contractor we will again be using the temporary access on Hercules Place for contractor’s traffic”.

The case officer for this temporary application prepared a report for submission to an 'authorised' officer recommending yet another Refusal of permission.

The local ward Cllr was contacted by residents and he stated that he found the School behaviour "completely unacceptable" and noted that he too was going to object to the temporary retention of the gate. He also requested the wall be reinstated as soon as.

Notwithstanding the Cllr's view, the Council is currently taking legal advice in the believe that the School had the right to open up the wall without a need to apply for permission.


Does this mean that, no matter the Committee decision of refusal and the Council Officer's report, the School will be able to continue using the temporary gate? And, if there is no need for a planning application to pull down the wall, does that mean that the School can simply turn the new entrance into a permanent entrance?

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