AN ELDERLY woman’s battle with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) to keep an extension to the rear of her property has ‘made life absolute hell.’
Linda Webb, who lives at 18 Coppermill Road, Wraysbury, has been ordered by the council via a planning enforcement notice to remove an extension to her house after it was unearthed she did not have planning permission to do this.
Her representative, Kevin Turner, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service RBWM has been making her life “an absolute hell” throughout the process.
He said the builders who erected the extension told her she did not need planning permission when actually she did.
Mrs Webb submitted a part-retrospective planning application in 2019 to keep the single-storey rear extension but was rejected by RBWM as the increased floor space was considered a ‘disproportionate’ addition over and above the size of the original building, causing an ‘inappropriate development’ in the greenbelt.
She later went to appeal to try and overturn the decision, but the planning inspector sided with the council and dismissed her case.
Last year, Mr Turner submitted another application to keep the extension, but this time to demolish the garage in order to reduce the floorspace by five square meters and open up the frontage.
But that was rejected as well as the council believed it did not represent a ‘significant change’ to the original application and did not overcome the harm to the greenbelt.
If a planning application is refused, an identical scheme cannot be submitted within two years.
Mr Turner said the council’s decision to refuse the second application was “just wrong” as removing the garage was not part of the 2019 application. He said by demolishing the garage, it would reduce floor space.
He also said neighbours have not complained about the extension and it is “hidden” from street view as it is at the rear of the property.
“How on earth is this [the extension] so offensive?” Mr Turner said, “it’s not something I can understand why they [RBWM] find it so unacceptable.”
The extension is still erected at Mrs Webb’s property despite being served an enforcement notice to remove it by January 2022. An appeal against the notice was dismissed by the planning inspector.
Mr Turner, who filed another appeal against the second application’s decision, fears RBWM could take them to court at any moment.
He accused RBWM of being “unreasonable,” citing other properties on Coppermill Road have had larger and longer extensions compared to Mrs Webb’s.
Mr Turner said: “I have been in planning for a good many years and I can’t really say I’ve come across a case like this where the council is not prepared to listen or compromise, and, on the contrary, seem to be making this elderly woman’s, who’s not very well, life a misery.
“The way they are hounding this woman, I have never come across a situation where they are simply relishing so much in making this woman’s life an absolute hell.”
An RBWM spokesperson said: “The council issues enforcement notices if it believes there has been a breach of planning control and it is expedient to take formal action.
“In making a decision to issue such notices, the council is at all times guided by, and acting in accordance with, planning law and national and local planning policies. In this case, the enforcement notice has also been upheld on appeal by an Inspector who agreed with the council’s case.
“When investigating an alleged breach of planning control, our planning enforcement team always seek to contact the owner or occupier of the site in question, engage with them and seek to work with them so that steps can be taken to remedy any such breaches.”
They also said the applicant can still choose to make a revised application to overcome the council’s original planning objections.