Barford family homeless after officials order demolition of extension
A FATHER-OF-THREE faces losing the home he grew up in after council officers ordered him to take down an extension put up without planning consent.
Rodney Barnes lives in a terraced house in Mill Lane, Barford, which he believed he was allowed to extend by just three metres without needing additional consent.
He said: “I paid the building regulations fees and had been advised by my structural engineer that a three metre extension would be within the permitted development work. I thought there would be no problem making the three bedrooms upstairs bigger and adding a bathroom.”
Now, even though none of his neighbours object and many have taken the trouble to write to the council to support Mr Barnes’ retrospective planning application, councillors say the extended rear of the property must come down.
This will effectively make Mr Barnes, his partner and their three children homeless, at least until they can find the money to demolish and rebuild a new wall at the rear of the terrace.
At the district planning meeting last week, Cllr John Barrott (Lab, Leamington Brunswick), who lives in the village, said: “Mr Barnes went on the word of a professional man and he didn’t know he needed planning permission for this.”
Cllr Barrott said one neighbour in the terrace who had originally made a minor objection had since withdrawn this and was in full support of Mr Barnes who risked being made not only homeless but financially ruined.
But other councillors were worried about a precedent being set which might lead to other applications for extensions.
Cllr Richard Brookes (Con, Bishops Tachbrook) said: “We should listen to the public’s response to this - I cannot vote for refusal,” while Cllr Jane Knight (Lab, Leamington Brunswick) added: “This should not be looked at as a precedent, every development should be judged on its own merit. I won’t want to be responsible for causing this man all this hardship.”
But Cllr Bertie MacKay (Ind, Stoneleigh) said: “I’m not going to sacrifice my integrity on something that so clearly shouldn’t be there.”
And Cllr Felicity Bunker (Con, Kenilworth) said: “This will create a precedent. Unless we extend the whole row of houses this extension is unacceptable.”
Mr Barnes retrospective application caused a complete split between the planning committee until chairman Cllr George Illington (Con, Kenilworth Abbey) used his casting vote to reject the plans.
Mr Barnes is taking legal advice about a possible appeal.
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