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Man dies before seeing plans approved to save Godshill home from demolition

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A MAN who faced the prospect of having to tear down his house in a planning row with the New Forest National Park Authority died before he could see permission being granted.

A revised version of the three-bedroom property, at Godshill near Fordingbridge, recently got the green light after it had been built bigger than the scheme approved in 2018.

Ian Vickers died before smaller blueprints for the former site of a bungalow in Godshill Wood were granted permission by the NPA's planning committee after years of dispute.

The home was built to the wrong size and dimensions which the NPA approved in 2018
The home was built to the wrong size and dimensions which the NPA approved in 2018

Lee Partridge, a friend of the applicants, told the meeting: "Very sadly, Mr Vickers has recently passed away and I am speaking on behalf of his wife and widow, Angie.

"The current application seeks to make amendments to the plans to address issues your officers have raised."

He said the amendments to Paysanne included "significant reduction" of the front and side gables and a stairwell window.

The property's floorspace would be reduced to 160 square metres, which was the size approved for the site in 2018.

As reported in the A&T, the NPA launched enforcement action after refusing a retrospective application for the property which had been built 1.2 metres longer, on a different orientation and location, and with unauthorised changes to the roof.

The Vickers appealed the enforcement action but a date for that has yet to be set for a public inquiry.

The latest version was recommended for approval by planning officers but was described by the NPA's executive director strategy and planning, Steve Avery, as "an absolute horlicks of a site".

He said: "Officers, trust me, really do not condone what has happened here.

"We have spent a huge amount of time addressing neighbours' concerns, valid concerns, and from the parish council that someone completely ignored their planning permission and built a house completely at odds with that permission and we served an enforcement notice that requires it to be demolished."

He stressed: "There has been no acquiescence by officers."

Speaking against the plans was planning consultant James Cain, who represented neighbours Mr and Mrs Atwill, whom he said was most affected.

He said: "My clients have taken legal advice since the officer's report is contradictory in the extreme with the previous stance of the [NPA] and does not take account of the significant material differences between the approved scheme, refused schemes and the application in front of you, as well as the evidence provided to date and the enforcement appeal case."

He added counsel had identified "inefficiencies" and "illegalities" with the handling of the case.

However, NPA member Sue Bennison said she felt that on balance it was "a good attempt" to get the house back to the size and shape that should have been built.

NPA member John Sanger called for the application to be deferred following the outcome of the enforcement appeal.

NPA member Richard Taylor said: "It is always regrettable when we get a case of something that has been built with disregard to the planning permission given.

"I don't see how, from a planning perspective, we can refuse this, given the permission that was granted in 2018."

Members voted in favour of approving the plans.

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