Victim of bully boys’
A FIGHT to build a garage has cost £80,000, claims a man who has branded Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation as bully boys after it refused his planning application. The refusal came despite North Hertfordshire District Council – the planning aut
A FIGHT to build a garage has cost £80,000, claims a man who has branded Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation as "bully boys" after it refused his planning application.
The refusal came despite North Hertfordshire District Council - the planning authority - granting Nick Cole, of Sollershott West in Letchworth GC, permission to build the quadruple garage from the outset.
In most towns there is only a requirement to submit applications to the planning authority, usually the district council, but a Scheme of Management gives the Heritage Foundation the power to scrutinise, approve or reject applications.
Mr Cole, 38, first applied for planning permission in 1999 but a neighbour made a complaint on the grounds of it being too close to the boundary.
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Mr Cole said: "The council came along and took a look and said they were happy with the plans and said the complaint didn't stand up. But the Heritage Foundation said they would not give permission because of the complaint.
"But they gave permission to someone 300 yards away to build a bigger extension than mine only half a metre from their boundary.
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Mr Cole added: "I went back three times to try to get permission but they used bully boy tactics and said if I didn't like the decision I could take them to court."
Mr Cole took the Heritage Foundation to court and lost.
He tried to appeal but said: "They don't have a proper appeal procedure which is independent."
According to Mr Cole the same people who denied him planning permission in the first instance also sat on the appeal board -known as the advisory management board.
He said: "How can that be independent? It's an absolute farce."
He added: "All I want to say to people is that you invest in Letchworth at your peril.
"You can't take on the Heritage Foun-dation and there is no check and balance with them.
"They are just a bunch of big bully boys."
When The Comet contacted the Heritage Foundation, a spokesman said it would be issuing a full statement next week.
* Letchworth Garden City Council is setting up a public consultation to gauge opinion on the current requirement for residents to submit planning applications to both North Hertford-shire District Council and Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation for approval.