Following a recent Planning Committee meeting, Forest of Dean District Council has ordered demolition on the grounds that the development so substantially contravenes the original planning permission it is effectively invalid.
The council say that 11 houses have been built instead of the nine originally consented at Culver Street. It adds that some of the properties have spread onto adjacent land. They say that the houses have design features that do not conform to the design originally passed in December 2016, including that some of them are too tall.
‘It is considered that the development in its current form is out of keeping and causes detrimental harm to the character of the area and the Newent Conservation Area.’
Forest of Dean District Council
In response, Kaveh’s company explained that the additional two properties were built as a result of a ‘blunder’ by the builders. The builders, who are no longer on site, allegedly began building the two extra properties ‘prematurely in error’.
Crystalight Limited told the council that the two additional properties are already being demolished, and that they are willing to negotiate how the other problems can be addressed.
‘Trigger point exceeded’
At the meeting, Councillor Edwards asked whether it was the whole site that had not been built to permission or just some of it. The Senior Enforcement Officer advised that there was a trigger point when the whole development was to be considered unauthorised. He has said that the breaches effectively mean that there is no planning permission. Therefore the only course of action open to the council is to order demolition and then take matters from there.
Local councillors questioned council officers as to why the properties have passed building control even though the work does not apparently comply with the planning permission. The Planning Committee Chairman pointed out that planning and building control are separate functions and that building work is often passed by independent inspectors rather than council officers.
Councilllor Sterry proposed that enforcement action be taken and this was seconded by Councillor Phelps. The Committee therefore resolved that the Strategic Group Manager for Planning and Housing and the Legal Team Manager issue an Enforcement Notice (EN) under Section 172 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
The issue of an enforcement notice gives Crystalight nine months from the effective date to demolish the development.
Hekmat Kaveh is CEO of Crystalight and lists his profession as a retired architect. Crystalight are both a property management and a development company based in Malvern, Worcestershire . The company have a portfolio of 400+ properties across Malvern, Worcester, Birmingham, Newent, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Cardiff.