Abuse of a monopoly
By John71945 | Monday, May 09, 2011, 15:06
During the course of a major re-development of my house my Architect submitted a planning application to St Albans Planning Authority at the beginning of Oct last year for a small rear Conservatory and minor alterations to the roof line of a utility room and to increase its size by converting a Garden Store attached to it.
The changes were at the request of the prospective buyer of my house.
The Council had 8 weeks to make a decision laid down by Government and therefore a deadline of 6 Dec 10.
We did not get a decision by 6 Dec 10.
After a number of phone calls to Gillian Donald the case Officer in Dec 10 we were told the reason for the delay was that that had changed their procedures for making decisions.
However, when the application was made the new procedures were not in force and I believe they should not have been applied retrospectively.
We were told that we would get a decision soon.
In January we still had no decision and therefore wrote for a decision to Gillian Donald with copies sent to Heather Cheeseborough - the Head of planning: Alan Moorehouse the Manager of Gillian Donald.
We did not get an answer from any of them despite numerous phone calls.
On 31 Jan we wrote a letter to the Legal Department of the Council complaining about the lack of response.
Their response was to re-iterate the cause was due to the change in procedures but not promise of a decision date.
My Architect has chased Gillian Donald numerous times but without response.
My house has been sold; a contract agreed; a deposit paid and the house is now passed building completion.
However, the absence of planning approval to the alterations means that we cannot complete the sale. This has been costing me £260 a day purely in lost interest, since 11 Apl.
In addition, because the house is un-occupied but finished the exemption for Council Tax no longer applies and therefore I need to pay £300 a month for an empty house.
We urgently need a decision but we have exhausted ways of getting a decision and I was hoping you would be able to help me.