Councillors Grant Approval For Pilot’s Retreat Accommodation

jacksons hill 2Owners of a property on Pilot’s Retreat have been granted approval to ‘legalise’ the unlawful use of a two-bedroomed ground floor annex.

In their application, Andy and Dawn Guy wrote that their basement has been used to house locals and key workers for seven years, but they now want its use to be above board.

Their sons may also want their own home soon or they may need space to look after elderly relatives.

At Thursday’s Planning meeting, Chief Planner Craig Dryden said the proposal was acceptable as it makes best use of a large property and creates more accommodation for those in need in the community.

Craig had received a letter from Jim and Karen Johnson with concerns that the sewerage system may become overloaded although in his report, Craig said there was no evidence that this would happen.

The annex will be subject to a revised section 106 restriction, limiting its use to family members, key workers, those with a specific local need and those on the Council’s housing register. It also can’t be sold separately from the main house.

Cllr Chris Savill welcomed the approval and hoped there would be other applications coming through soon to rectify some of the planning issues in this area.

She said when planning permission first went in for the houses at Pilot’s Retreat they would have liked a larger number of smaller properties, but that wasn’t possible because of the ownership of the plots.

This goes some way towards meeting the original concern, she says, of creating more individual accommodation on the plots.

But Chair of Planning Gaz O’Neill wanted the section 106 restriction signing as quickly as possible. He said the Council is currently preventing people from building without a section 106. But if you’ve already built it, he says, “then it’s ok you can take as long as you like.”

It’s not a level playing field, says Gaz.

Andy Guy, who became a councillor in the May elections, declared an interest in the item and left the chamber while the application was discussed.