Friday, August 10, 2007

Planning is a Nonsense!!!

The two photographs attached have been taken on the land next the Swale Martial Arts Club in East Street Sittingbourne. Photo no 1 shows a long lean to shed where the club houses some of its equipment, it a very neat affair with recently refurbished roof, painted front and parts decked with hanging baskets. SMAC decided to keep this ground in reasonable good order because it was the first thing people who come from Faversham side see of Sittingbourne. It seems that the planning authorities at Swale Borough Council did not like our shed as a few weeks ago they sent an enforcement officer ( who was in all fairness very pleasant and helpful) to SMAC telling us that the Sheds and our bird aviary did not have planning permission and had to come down. It was true that the big shed and aviary did not have planning something I did not realise I needed the club had no option but to agree.
The questions one must ask oneself are as follows:
1) Why did we have to knock them down, planning departments answer was no planning, yet the sheds were more attractive then what is left, they did not ruin the look of the area, they were not affecting anyone in terms of a hazard, they were not a danger to anyone and not in a state of disrepair. Surely common sense can prevail when this sort of things happen or is that beyond the remit of planning department?
2) Is it necessary to send a Planning Contravention Notice with fine of £1000 if you do not reply in 21 days?
3) A 8ft x 6ft garden shed is also part of the order, yet this stands in the garden of one of the flats on land that has been residential and in continual use as such for over a 100 years, in that time there must have been scores of garden sheds. So why now is it that contravenes planning regulations could it be planning are flexing their bureaucratic muscles it will not be the first time SMAC has been singled out someone, years ago we were taken to court because we had a banner which did not have planning permission yet all the major stores had banner adverts without planning, for nearly 100 years there has been a roadway to what used to be stables and a barn at the rear of the buildings, when the new roundabout was erected our entrance from the road was taken away so we were told to use another route from the road after doing this for 20 years some KCC officials tell us we are breaking the law and must cease. Are the SMAC being harassed by some at the council or is it we are not one of the big companies and an easy target?
4) The planning department tell me you need planning permission for a garden shed and do this you must have proper drawings so for an 10ft x 8ft shed you will have to have a set of drawings which will cost £100 or more. So if you have had a shed erected in less then 4 years you could be breaking planning laws.
Local Councillors seem to have less and less powers and in reality we are governed and administered by a unelected autonomous organisation, Councillors must start clawing back control of Council affairs and return power to the people.

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