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Planning battle is a 'vendetta'
11:00am Wednesday 30th January 2013 in Andover
THE owners of a new home which has been the subject of a planning battle claim they are caught in the middle of a “vendetta” against the builder of their property.
The matter of 41 in Overton was discussed again by Overton Parish Council, which is to write to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council asking why no enforcement action has been taken.
The councillors claim the house has encroached on to the Edward Kersley Playing Field – which is leased to the parish council from the borough council.
The borough council has agreed to erect and pay for a fence to separate the property from the playing field.
But the new occupants, Angela and Graham Gould, say they are fed up with the row.
Mr Gould, aged 62, said the parish council’s pursuit of the matter was “a gross abuse of public funds with no genuine positive outcome for the public interest”.
The father-of-four said the row was about a bank which was steep and unusable.
At the parish council meeting on 9 January, resident Sarah Mills claimed the building of the property has resulted in a problem with parking along the street.
Parish council chairman Tom Ridler said the council could not get involved in parking disputes.
But borough councillor Paula Baker said: “I want to share the frustration of this.
“Through a series of planning applications we were all led to expect that the outcome in relation to parking spaces and garden areas was going to be rather different than it has turned out and I’m sorry that, having asked enforcement officers to look into it, they have come back and said there’s nothing they can do.”
Cllr Lucy Sloane-Williams added: “The planning process has led to difficulties at community level so the borough council really are negligent.”
Councillors agreed to write to Tony Curtis, chief executive of the borough council, asking why enforcement action has not been carried out.
However, after the meeting, the borough council said it would not take any planning enforcement action over the lane.
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that in May 2011 the borough council asked for the boundary to be reinstated as “a matter of urgency” or “further legal action” would be taken.
Previously, Steve Smith, of DGS Developments, which built the property, said it had been agreed with a borough surveyor that the boundary wall was “as accurately placed as was reasonable”.
He added: “The claim that the boundary wall is six feet into the playing fields is at best fanciful, at worst an attempt at political justification of this personal vendetta.”