New status gives you no guarantees

Oak Terrace Stainland

I read with interest the news that Northowram has gained conservation status but warn residents that future planning decisions may still surprise them.

I live in Stainland and successfully appealed against the building of a house directly opposite my own.

The planning committee agreed with me (and others who had sent written objections) and described the plans as 'incongruous' to the (conservation) area.

Having waited for 2 hours for the opportunity to contest the plans I still went away relieved and sure that subsequent plans would have to be very different. How wrong I was.

The next time the plans were presented we were told by letter that they would be put before the panel after 6 o'clock.

Given the previous wait I was not too worried when I arrived at the Town Hall at 4 minutes past 6.

The hearing had started and the chair refused to allow me to speak. With very minor alterations the plans were passed.

A local representative, seeing how distressed I was told me that even if I had spoken "things would probably have gone through anyway".

Your article comments that the conservation area in Northowram "seeks to preserve the historic village core, its architectural character and remaining rural settings".

If they would like to call at my house they may be surprised to see what the planners feel is preserving these aspects in Stainland village.

Good luck for the future Northowram but prepare yourselves for the challenges ahead!

Eileen Sparks