On Wednesday night, 16th September, I attended the West Berkshire planning committee meeting. A large group in inquisitorial mood with the objectors represented by two groups -Streatley Parish Council & residents of Townsend Road. Furthermore the chairman of the committee is also a resident of Streatley and he declared a conflict of interest and stepped down for my agenda item so that he too could speak against my application.
I was alone and felt somewhat outnumbered. After 2 hours of cross questioning and debate the matter was put to a vote. Unanimous acceptance of the planning department’s recommendation that my landscape plan be accepted – YES!!!
The Streatley ward councillor asked for the condition be kept that I could not occupy my home until all works were complete. The senior planner said that he felt this was a draconian requirement and it was dropped. My planning case officer confirmed after the meeting that I am free to move in. She said there will be some constraints – I have to provide details of the current levels and will not be able to exceed them, also I have to build a small retaining wall between my garden and next door – but importantly I do not have to remove the chalk spoil from site and I can have a somewhat level garden.
So 1 year 6 months and 14 days after the old chalet bungalow was knocked down, I moved into my new home (Such a shame it was after Clare and her family’s visit). There is still work to be done in the house and lots more outside but now it starts to feel like home.
My eternal thanks to Chris and Ann for letting Sally and I live in their garage room for the intervening period. Friends and family are the real important things in life, not bricks and mortar – they only make a house.