Elderly woman being put through ‘hell’ by council over illegal house extension

An elderly woman who never received planning permission for an extension on her home is now being put through “hell” by council planning officers, her representative claims.

Linda Webb had the modern extension added to her property in Wraysbury, near Windsor, after being informed by builders that she did not need planning permission for its construction.

However, this was not the case, with Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead serving an enforcement notice for its removal.

Linda has so far declined to do so, with her representative Kevin Turner saying that the conflict with the council is making her life “an absolute hell”, the Mirror reports.

Mrs Webb submitted a part-retrospective planning application in 2019 to the council to keep the single-storey rear extension at Coppermill Road.

But this was rejected 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 green belt.

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. This time it was 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 green belt.

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.

Kevin Turner, Linda's representative, said builders who worked on the extension told her she did not need planning permission.
Kevin Turner, Linda’s representative, said builders who worked on the extension told her she did not need planning permission.

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 the council could take them to court at any moment.

He accused the council 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.”

A council 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.”

The council also said the applicant can still choose to make a revised application to overcome the council’s original planning objections.

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