A HOMEOWNER who extended his property in the national park without permission has been told by planners that he might have to tear it down after he was refused a replacement on the same site.
Tom Whiteley applied to build a four-bedroom brick building with a tile roof on the site of Godwin’s House in Waterditch Road, Waterditch, near Bransgore.
The current property on the site, which he has previously extended without planning permission, would be demolished.
The proposal was debated by the national park authority’s planning committee on Tuesday, held via video-link.
A committee report advised refusal of the new home on the grounds that it was far more imposing that the original dwelling and the design failed to reflect the rural character of the original or existing dwelling.
Speaking to members, Mr Whiteley said: “I admit and sincerely apologise to all concerned that I built an unauthorised extension prior to submitting my first application.
“I totally refute the statement that the design is not of sufficient quality. The design is well thought out and will result in an extremely attractive property.”
The meeting heard an enforcement notice had been issued which requires the removal of the entire existing property as there was no evidence of the size of the original dwelling prior to its extension.
The NPA’s executive director of strategy and planning, Steve Avery, said: “We’re dealing with a very unusual and quite complex case in terms of the status of the existing building, which is unauthorised.
“It has always been our expectation that the applicant would seek to retain the existing dwelling as it is on the site today in some type of modified form, in a way we could support.
“Obviously, the application we have today is not that. The application is to take that down and put something very different in its place.
“As far as the enforcement notice is concerned, the officer’s view is that hopefully we can still settle on an acceptable scheme which retains the existing building in some modified form which would then supersede the enforcement notice.
“But until we have such an application the enforcement notice has to remain on the table and in effect.”
NPA member George Bisson questioned why the decision was made to use tile for the roof and not thatch, which the current property has.
Mr Whiteley replied: “My wife over the years has had a lot of skin irritation and asthma and my conclusion was that [thatch] does affect my wife’s health.”
Mr Whiteley told members it had been “a sledgehammer blow” to hear Mr Avery say his home was unlawful. He added: “I strongly refute that. The original house is still there. I was under the impression that we just had to take away the extension.
“My whole life is in this building, my family have lived in it for years.”
Agreeing that the application should be refused, NPA member Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: “He needs to go back to the drawing board and perhaps reconsider the idea about thatch – that might have made a big difference to the way it looks and the way our officers look at it.
“I do believe that is the mistake that has been made here. It is purely too big and doesn’t fit in.”
NPA member Sue Bennison agreed: “I saw a picture of the thatched cottage and what was proposed and I thought, ‘Goodness me, that bears no resemblance to what is there now’.”
Eight members voted in favour of refusing the application and two abstained.