Marie Interview, Part Two: How One Wall Caused So Much Trouble

Monday, November 14, 2016

When Marie was handed the keys to her newly renovated home, we thought that – aside from some final bits of polish – our work on the build was complete. But the recent addition of a wall to the front of the house has us helping Marie again, this time to prevent her from falling foul of local planning law. Click here to read part one.

DGA have recently been involved again in the build, what happened?

At the front of the house were these enormous, dense bushes that were half dead and blocked the view of the road when we were reversing out. As part of our renovations, we were redoing the front of the house and the pavement, which were all in state of disrepair, and we thought, right, let’s sort this out and pull up those bushes.

We didn’t just get rid of them because they were unattractive, there were also pushy cold callers in the area that had become so aggressive that the neighbours would call to warn that they’re approaching. My husband travels a lot and I really didn’t feel safe in my own home, so we decided to put up a wall and gate.

Admittedly, the wall does look bigger than I expected. It’s still smaller than the bushes were, but clearly it went just over what was permitted because John received a letter from the council.

Now we’ve applied for retrospective planning permission, so John drew up the plans and compiled them into an application as if we were doing it before it was built.

Do you anticipate there’ll be any problems?

I feel that it looks so much better than the bushes that were there before and even though it’s quite a contemporary look, I think in time it will blend in well with the road. There are other properties in the area with similar walls, so I’d be surprised if there was a problem. Like anything newly built it’s more obvious at the moment, but as it ages it will settle in.

The main thing for us is the security it provides. We didn’t just put it up for aesthetic reasons, and it was really important to us that our new home felt safe. We hope that because it’s already been built and because of the benefits it provides compared to what was there before that the planning department will be understanding.

The front of Marie’s house before the bushes were replaced.

Would you have known what to do without DGA?

No, I would have actually had no idea. I called John straight away once I heard that planning had been alerted. There were quite a few points that he brought up that I would never have been aware of.

What advice do you have for someone who finds themselves in a similar situation?

Do a little more research than I did. We had got planning approval for rendering the house and I assumed that would be the biggest obstacle, so I thought if they were happy with that they would have been happy with the wall.

Looking back, I should have spoken to John and sought his advice before we put it up. Through the planning process for the main build he anticipated every problem before they happened, so he definitely would have caught it.

Once everything with the wall is settled, do you have any more plans for the house?

Not at this stage, no. We’ve thought years ahead with this house so as the kids grow up everyone can function and be happy and the space can adapt around our needs. Because of the grid-like way that it’s structured, we can just shuffle things around if we get bored with it and it will feel up to date again, we wanted it to be adaptable.

Since this interview, Marie received planning approval for the wall, which can now continue to provide security and an attractive first impression for their new home. If you have any questions about your local planning policies and how they might affect your building plans, click here to get in touch with us today.