Stainland homeowners fear enforcement action after new extension goes wrong
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Calderdale Council Planning Committee members refused Emma and Ash Taylor retrospective permission for the dormer at their home in Gladstone Street, Stainland.
Councillors were sympathetic to the couple, believed they genuinely did not know permission was needed for changes to the house which is in a conservation area, and heard the council had received letters of support for their application.
But they were concerned that to allow it would set a precedent others could use to seek permission for similar developments which might not be suitable for a conservation area.
Emma Taylor said the couple had built the dormer to create more space for their growing family and they had put all their savings into it, so possible action if permission was refused would leave them in a difficult position.
“This is a genuine mistake – we thought we had taken all the actions necessary,” she said.
Action included getting building regulations approval which had been obtained, but the need for planning permission had not been mentioned.
“The council have to consider if it is in the public’s best interest to take action.
“We used all our funds to do this dormer and don’t have any more to take it down or if you take us to court to remove it,” said Mrs Taylor.
She said its position meant it could not be seen from other parts of the conservation area, in which their home was right on the edge of the area.
Ward councillor Coun Marilyn Greenwood (Lib Dem, Greetland and Stainland) spoke in support of the family.
Coun Colin Hutchinson (Lab, Skircoat) said he felt it should be in the remit of building control officers to make applicants aware of what their permission or advice limitations were, and tell them they needed to be making an application for planning permission.
But committee Chair Coun Steve Sweeney (Lab, Todmorden) said it was not their job – they were there to say whether it was fit as a building, not look at planning or anything else.
Coun Stephen Baines (Con, Northowram and Shelf) said he was very sympathetic to the couple’s plight but a conservation area was there to preserve the historic appearance of a place and he was convinced if the application was allowed it would be difficult to stop many more appearing around the borough.
Councillors felt they had no option but to refuse planning permission.
Coun Sweeney said: “I am sorry Mrs Taylor but that is all we can do.”