Committee members are concerned the process of calling-in decisions has been made a ‘mockery’ following a request to review existing patio extensions.
Mid Sussex District Council’s planning committee B was asked to consider a retrospective planning application after works had been completed without planning permission.
The application related to the extension of an existing raised patio and the construction of a screen wall at the rear of a property in Turners Hill Road, East Grinstead.
The application sought to regularise the developments which had already taken place.
Speaking at the meeting on Thursday evening (May 11), councillor Robert Salisbury said the committee had been dragged into a ‘neighbourly dispute’.
He said: “We have been referred to an issue between neighbours who have lived next to each other for twenty years.
“I am sure after this meeting they won’t be too chatty over the fence.
“If we called in every single building development that neighbours didn’t agree with then we would never leave here.
“They should have had planning permission to carry out the work but I see no issues in terms of planning.”
The committee was asked to discuss a new retaining wall which had been built extending the patio rearwards by 0.5 metres. The raised area of the patio had been widened by 1.2m.
A garden wall to a height of 2.5m and 8m wide had also been built.
Nicholas Major, a neighbour of the property, said he did not object with the work but urged the committee to ask for a screening wall to be put up.
He said: “This screening wall would ensure the privacy of the garden and property which has been lost due to this extension.
“This whole debacle should have been dealt with a long time ago.”
This request was rejected by the committee due to planning reasons.
Councillor Pru Moore said: “I could understand the issue here if the gardens were small but we are talking about acres of land.
“I do not get how anybody can say that this impinges on anyone in any shape or form.
“This whole debate makes a mockery of the calling-in process in my opinion.”
Six members voted in favour of the completed work with one abstention.