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Little Fish - 17 January 2008

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Jonathan Hendry of Jonathan Hendry Architects gets an unwanted Christmas present from the planning officer.

It’s 1pm on 22 December 2007, and we’re just about to close the office for Christmas. The phone rings; it’s the planning officer reviewing a small project. He says the parish council has objected and a resident has commented on the applicant’s barking dogs. He wants written confirmation that a proposed kennel will not be used commercially.
Planners have the power to approve applications if there are fewer than three objections, so I ask if he will use those powers, as there were only two objections. He says he ‘does not like the proposed alterations’ but adds that he could ask the conservation officer to do a sketch.
I ask why the conservation officer is needed when the project isn’t in a conservation area. He says the conservation officer is actually a conservation and
design officer.
I ask if taste comes under planning policy. He threatens to refuse the application, and says the council doesn’t have time to deal with it.
We have no choice but to withdraw the application. I put the phone down, my blood boiling. How do I explain to the client that we’ve withdrawn their application because the planner doesn’t like it? I lock the door and head to the Christmas party, hoping for a better start to 2008.

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