Bit of a panic this afternoon. I actually contacted my local councillor, for the first time ever. I don’t normally make a fuss.
The chap who lived on the corner of our road had a big garden, part of which he sold off, and four houses and two bungalows were built there. They were all round the corner, not on our road. After he died in his nineties, a few years ago, his son sold one building plot to a very nice young couple, who’ve built a chalet bungalow right opposite our gate. A builder bought the house and the rest of the garden, assuring the son that he didn’t intend to build, which he clearly did, and there are now two houses and a bungalow on that plot. I made no comment on any of those – nor did I when the small field opposite had planning permission applied for, originally for 20 dwellings, latterly for 16 bungalows. I’m really and truly not a nimby and I don’t want to look as if I am. On the other hand, when there was a development in the offing, that would have no effect on me, but for which the plans were vague and also unfair on very local residents, I spent some time picking out the inconsistencies and unspecifics in the application and wrote in with them.
The planning part of the local authority website is very difficult to find one’s way around. But I finally managed to get detailed plans for the 16 bungalows – and I was alarmed. It looked as if the intention was to pull down my hedge to widen the road. Now, I do not have the detail of where the boundary is, because the deeds are with my solicitor. but I planted that hedge myself on the same line as the original hedge. It was in very poor condition and we had it uprooted – we received a grant to do so, and had another grant to put in the new one – and we had a trench dug and tons and tons of manure delivered. To the extent that was possible, that was dropped the length of the trench, but there were a lot of heaps that had to be spread out. It’s a few hundred yards, and I shifted an awful lot of muck. And then Russell and I planted the hedge and we watered it for the next couple of years – it was our hedge- and we’ve had it cut back and cared for as necessary ever since. It’s personal. It’s more than just a hedge to me and, if I sound sentimental about it, I am.
When the plans were put in for the development opposite this hedge, which is the boundary for our front field, the people next door objected that there was a plan for a new pavement which went in front of their hedge, over a piece of grass that they’ve always looked after. They thought the pavement should be on the other side of the road. I didn’t take that seriously as I reckoned there wasn’t room – it would be fine to put one there but then they’d just need to take the same land opposite for the widened road. However, when I finally worked my way through the dreadful website, it had a line on my side of the road and it said – or appeared to say – that the hedge would be removed and a new one put in. I panicked and, as I said, wrote to my councillor, whose a very sound chap, whom I know reasonably well.
He’s written back, saying he’s pretty sure that is not intended, but he’ll check tomorrow. Looking again, i realise that it’s possible that it refers to the other side of the road. There has never been a hedge on the other side of the road, just a grassy bank that’s overgrown with brambles etc, that might look a big hedgy at a glance. I’m still quite anxious though. I don’t trust anyone at the council, really. Though the council tax people are lovely and very helpful. Oh pah. I need to spend the next hour or so unwinding or I won’t get any sleep tonight.
First mince pie of the season this morning, in other news.