VOTE: Was the planning decision about a roof extension plan in Tillington undemocratic?

Tillington residents have slammed the planning process as ‘undemocratic’ after failing to have their voices heard over objections to a plan to extend into the roof space at a bungalow at Westside.

Eleven residents as well as Tillington Parish Council members objected to a proposal to repitch the roof with dormers but their protests were ignored when Chichester District Council (CDC) gave the go-ahead.

Westside is a private estate of bungalows, some of which have been extended into chalet-style properties with additional rooms built into the existing roof space.

But residents claimed the plan to repitch the roof and build in the roof space raised the roof level to such an extent it overshadowed other homes.

Tillington parish councillors objected, saying: “The proposal is unsympathetic, the gable ends to this development are overpowering and out of keeping with the remainder of the properties in the immediate area. The ‘hipped’ roof should be retained.”

Neighbours also objected, saying the proposed external alterations were not in keeping with properties in the neighbourhood and would overshadow adjacent properties causing loss of privacy.

But after it was given the go-ahead, spokeswoman for the objectors Marilyn Walker told the Observer: “We feel we have been let down by both Chichester District Council and the South Downs National Park Authority and beg the question: why did we and the parish council object and did we have a fair hearing from members of a committee where most have never set foot in Westside?”

Now in a letter signed by 15 residents of Westside, they have written to both authorities voicing their disappointment with the planning system. They said they had left messages asking a CDC officer to visit Westside before the decision was made.

“This did not happen and during the meeting your planning officer in his summary made some fundamental and inaccurate statements concerning Westside, and this opinion undoubtedly swayed committee members and influenced the decision making process.”

The residents said it was incorrect to imply Westside was ‘just another estate where all properties overshadow or overlook each other’. Even those with roof extensions did not overlook other properties, they said.