Saturday, 21 February 2009

Shortsighted policies

A family bought and renovated a barn on the Norfolk coast recently and, maybe naively, sought retrospective planning permission to change use to a permanent home from its former status as a holiday home.

They have just lost their application and have been given 18 months ‘respite’ to do what …? I suppose they can apply again for change of use in the hopes of a ‘change of heart’ or hope that either there will be a switch of personnel in the local planning committee or the rules (which are now under review) will be amended.

How absurd is this decision by the local councillors? We are constantly hearing about the villages dying because of second homes being empty for most of the time and yet the committee turns down the chance for a normal family to make their home in a village and make a contribution to the village life. One of the reasons given for the refusal is that it would ‘open the floodgates’ for applications from other barn owners – so what! Anything which would revitalise the villages and satisfy demand from families wanting to live in the country must surely be a good thing.

This strikes me as being similar to the attitude of a village who, in the 1980’s turned down the opportunity to be connected to a new gas pipeline because it would only encourage a certain amount of development and people might want to live in the village!

It’s about time Norfolk brought its policies into the 21st century!

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