After more than two years of appeals and applications a disabled woman has gained planning permission to build a home to cater for her needs.
Kim Spence, of Squirrel Close, Langley Green, submitted an application for her new bungalow on land next to her current home but it was refused.
However, Crawley Borough Council’s development control committee has approved her new application for a three bedroom end of terrace adjoining her house despite planning guidance advising otherwise.
Although Miss Spence, 49, had support from her neighbours, the fact she had a number of established protected oak trees in her garden raised concern with planning officers. They told the committee a new home was not advisable so close to the oaks but she won the support of councillors.
She told members: “It was not and never has been my intention to harm the trees, which is why I commissioned an arboricultural company to carry out an independent tree survey which came back in favour of the build and also came with all the necessary tree and root protection plans.”
Committee vice chairman Cllr Stephen Joyce (Lab, Langley Green) said: “The construction can be done in such a way for there to be no damage or risk of subsidence caused by the oak tree. You can make the footings go down deeper.
“This can be built and with Building Control on the ball, it can be built. I think there’s too much emphasis on the possible damage to the trees in the future.”
Cllr David Shreeves (Lab, Langley Green) and Cllr Peter Smith (Lab, Ifield) also spoke in support of Miss Spence.
The committee approved her application by eight votes to two.
After the meeting she said: “I cannot believe it. It’s been going on for over two years now. I was just so relieved.
“We thought I was going to have to move somewhere else away from family and friends.
“It’s going to make life so much easier and it’s difficult to find somewhere round here that’s going to be affordable to live in and that’s suitable. It’s going to be life changing for me.”
Cllr Brenda Smith, (Lab, Langley Green), who asked the committee to give their support on Monday, said: “I am very pleased the committee listened to sound reason and considered the need of the applicant.
“I do not wish to see trees removed, but when there are options that can allow development without loss or damage to trees then is must be considered.”