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A GROUP of Whitley neighbours have expressed their disbelief at a planning decision by Wiltshire Council.
Planning permission has been granted by the council to build two new houses on land to the rear of Eden Grove in Whitley, which requires using land privately-owned by a resident of Brookfield Rise for access.
The Brookfield Rise neighbours had objected to the application as it could require the demolition of a wall owned by one of the neighbours, Ann Smith.
However the application could not be refused on these grounds as planning law allows for a planning proposal to be submitted that includes land not owned by the applicant.
With planning now granted, the issue becomes a civil matter between the applicant and Brookfield Rise resident, Ann Smith, as the plans cannot move forward until all of the landowners have agreed.
In response to the decision, the residents have called into question how a planning application can be made by a person that does not own, or have any right to, all of the land involved. And are raising awareness of the planning loop-hole.
One resident told Melksham News, “We are absolutely gutted that they have granted planning permission when there is no access through to Brookfield Rise other than through a neighbour’s private property. To put elderly people in this stressful situation in the current uncertain climate with the virus is beyond belief.
“The council were given all the facts but they just decided to totally ignore it. There is nothing we can do as the council’s opinion is that ownership of the land is not taken into account and it’s a civil matter, which makes a complete nonsense of the planning system.
“The fact that you can put in a planning application and not own the land you want to use and get planning permission granted, is scary for anyone and people need to be aware that this can happen.”
Another neighbour added, “The applicant has no vehicle access to the site, yet Wiltshire Council wasted time and money on the application. The letters of objection counted for nothing. I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t even bother to read them.”