Anger voiced over ‘planning breach’ at Fernhurst

Dr Shaun Kilminster showing how close the house next door has been built to his boundary fence.ks1500580
Dr Shaun Kilminster showing how close the house next door has been built to his boundary fence.ks1500580
  • A Fernhurst villager claims his concerns over a breach of planning permission were ignored by Chichester District Council
  • The council says it did take concerns of residents into account and kept them fully informed
  • But it has deferred a decision on the planning breach after failing to inform residents of the meeting

A FURIOUS Fernhurst villager has accused Chichester District Council of ‘arrogance and incompetence’ after he claims his pleas for action over a breach of planning permission were ignored.

Dr Shaun Kilminster, a clinical pharmacologist, said he fought for ten months after discovering a new house being built next to his Midhurst Road home was a foot too wide either side.

He made repeated requests to meet CDC’s chief executive and head of planning, but was ignored.

And he was outraged to discover a retrospective planning application to ‘regularise’ the planning breaches went before district councillors, last Wednesday.

But a spokesman for Chichester District Council said a decision had been deferred after admitting residents were not told of the meeting.

“The application was considered by the planning committee on November 11. The report included representations made by residents. Unfortunately, we did not inform the parish council, interested parties and residents in advance of this meeting and we would like to apologise for this. However, we are aware ward members did email all relevant parties.”

“We want to assure residents no decision has been issued and the item has been deferred to the next planning meeting on December 9 to enable all interested parties to attend and speak if they wish. We are in the process of contacting all these groups to make them aware of the situation.”

But Dr Kilminster claims his concerns were repeatedly ignored by the council.

“As council tax payers we expect courtesy, but the arrogance of Chichester District Council is phenomenal”.

“I am in a position where I hold regular discussions with generals, admirals and permanent under secretaries and I have never come across such arrogance in public life.”

He added: “It’s a sad state of affairs when we pay high taxes thinking people in the council office are doing their jobs, but they don’t do anything at all.”

Dr Kilminster is now complaining to the Ombudsman and the government’s planning minister.

Ten months ago he discovered planning discrepancies at the former Fuel Care site next to his home where planning permission had been given for four new houses. He checked the plans and then contacted planners at CDC.

“I heard nothing and contacted the South Downs National Park where an officer told me there was a breach of planning permission and CDC would deal with it.”

“I made three requests to meet the chief executive and three to see the head of planning. I was completely ignored by them all. I am very concerned about their gross incompetence and lack of courtesy, they seem to feel they can do whatever they like.”

The CDC spokesman said concerns were received about the possible breach in April.

“The residents who had contacted us were kept fully informed of the enforcement investigation.”

It was not considered expedient to take formal enforcement action, said the spokesman and the developer was invited to submit a plan to address the minor changes identified.

“The residents were informed of this and invited to make representations, which they submitted and which were included in the final report.

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