Myself and Sheila Harmon, an HCERA member, attended the inaugural Residents’ Associations Question Time on Development Control on 29 May at the Civic Centre. Mrs Harmon raised the concerns about the deteriorating metal windows in Leaside Way and elsewhere. These are now very far from meeting current standards on heat loss. Would the planners tell us of an approved replacement that was not prohibitively expensive? We were told that this is not how the planning system works; we have to say what we want to do and they say yes or no. A group of people could get together and make a joint proposal.

One of the things I wanted to know was how many uPVC plastic conservatories had been approved within the Conservation Area. I was told that this information was not easily available and would cost too much to extract. So I got a standard reply:

“Applications will be considered in terms of their intrinsic design, the use of materials and the impact on the character and appearance of the host and surrounding properties and environment.”

So I came away none the wiser about plastic conservatories. We would like to know what is getting planning consent, so please email and tell us.

Have you, like me, waited many weeks for a reply to your letter? I was told:

“Replies to general correspondence should be made within 15 working days of receipt. In instances when the issue requires additional consideration, we will write and advise how long we expect this to take and offer a later reply date”.

So don’t hesitate to start pestering after 3 weeks! Mr Rothery, Development Control Manager, went on to say

“Correspondence made in respect of a planning application is generally not replied to, given the level of such correspondence and the time and resources that would be necessary to offer an equitable service to all such letters.”

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