By Haddenham Webteam - 22nd September 2013 8:00am
From time to time the editor of Haddenham.net receives complaints about the apparent inactivity of the Parish Council. Some of these complaints are drawn to the attention of appropriate councillor(s) and it then becomes clear that steps have or are being taken to address particular issues, but that residents may not have been made aware of these actions.
Parish Councillors are volunteers, serving their community on an un-paid basis in their spare time and, in the case of several, alongside busy professional jobs and other responsibilities. It is therefore not surprising that, on occasions, communicating with residents is not always top of their agenda.
That said, the 'Village News' is a widely read and much valued publication issued by the Parish Council three or four times a year, and the Annual Parish Meeting also provides an insightful summary of the PC's activities over the preceding 12 months. Less well known is the Parish Council's own website and associated blog — see here. The minutes of all meetings, both of the main Parish Council and of its various sub-committees, are also available to residents if we choose to read them.
Agains this backcloth, your website editor is keen to acknowledge the work that the Parish Council (supported by other village representatives) has been doing to protect the architectural heritage and identity of our lovely village. The Neighbourhood Plan is in its early days of preparation, but this document, and the public consultation process by which it is being developed, will play a hugely important part of defining the nature and look of Haddenham over the coming 15 years or so. (Even if you are only remotely interested in how and where new homes and commercial development will take place in Haddenham, please get involved by attending one of the public meetings).
Recently we have reported on the re-development of the former 'Beehive Stores' in Churchway (otherwise less imaginatively known as '23A Churchway'). Local residents have been concerned about the loss of the mail post box from the wall of this property, but there have also been serious concerns about the way that this listed building is being developed and altered structurally.
The following document is rather lengthy, but it provides a very meaningful and helpful insight into the work that the Parish Council has been doing to protect the architectural integrity of this building and the interests of its immediate neighbours. It is recommended reading:
HADDENHAM PARISH COUNCIL — COMMENTS ON A PLANNING APPLICATION
13/01312/APP and 13/01313/ALB — HADDENHAM
23A Churchway, Haddenham, Bucks HP17 8AB
The Parish Council OPPOSES and has serious concerns about this application:
1. The applicant/developer has undertaken significant work to a listed building without prior consent. This is an offence under the listed building legislation. The PC is pleased that AVDC has obliged work to stop. However it is apparent that the developer has no understanding of the responsibilities implied in taking on a listed building, or of party wall legislation. The work done so far and the manner of its execution has caused considerable distress to the neighbours at 23 Churchway. It has also caused water damage to their property. The PC commends the Planning Officer's tenacity in seeking communication to resolve matters. However the PC notes that despite requests for a method statement, at the time of writing, this has still not been received, and that other matters also remain unresolved. The PC is therefore minded to suggest that AVDC issue a refusal.
2. The PC has now had the opportunity to inspect the courtyard, having not previously been able to view this area which is otherwise hidden away. Seeing this area has materially changed our perspective on the issues presented. The opening up of the courtyard by the removal of part of the roof is unacceptable. It creates an open courtyard which results in an unacceptable loss of amenity to the occupiers of 23 Churchway by virtue of intrusion, noise, disturbance and probably lighting, barbecue smoke etc. Similarly there will be unacceptable intrusion experienced by the users of the courtyard at 23A by virtue of very immediate overlooking from 23 Churchway. The situation is almost certain to guarantee neighbour conflict. The courtyard should revert to being a utility area and not become an additional "summer room".
3. The developer has undertaken work without listed building consent and without a party wall agreement. The surface of the courtyard has been laid to incorporate a fall which takes run-off water towards the party wall with No. 23 which is unacceptable. The PC understands that the party way has been sealed with a cement-based rendered which is unacceptable. A large opening has been created in the south facing wall of 23A for which no permission has been granted. A flat roof with black felting has been constructed. Plastic guttering is already showing signs of leaking onto the fresh render. None of this respects the listed status. As a minimum, the developer should be required to: re-instate the removed roof and the courtyard returned to its previous dimensions; create an acceptable fall with drainage into the centre of the yard; remove cement render; provide an acceptable method statement and come to a party wall agreement.
4. The PC has received considerable representation about the closure of the post box. The PC objects to the manner of the closure without any public consultation. The PC has offered assistance in suggesting alternative sites for the post box, but has now been informed by the Post Office that the closure is permanent — a decision which has angered villagers. The PC looks to AVDC for support in making representations to the Post Office and to refuse permission on the grounds of loss of a valued local service and amenity which is part of the building's historic association and which should be re-provided prior to any approval.
5. If AVDC is minded to approve, the previous condition to retain the louvered shuttering to the north facing dormer should be re-stated to prevent overlooking of No. 25.