Developer has ‘turned manipulation of planning system into art form’

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An Itchingfield developer has ‘turned manipulation of the council’s planning system into an art form’, according to residents.

Duncan Jagger was granted retrospective permission for a four-bed chalet bungalow and a detached two-storey garage in Bashurt Hill by Horsham District Council’s Development Control North Committee on Tuesday (August 2).

Plans had been previously deferred by the committee in April to negotiate with the developer over amendments to the size and location of the garage.

The proposals have proved hugely controversial with neighbours since the house as built differs to the plans previously approved by HDC, who have raised the issue of overdevelopment and loss of privacy.

Roger Pennock, one of the objectors, said: “In my opinion the developer has turned manipulation of your planning system into an art form.”

Vivian Taylor, who lives next door to the site, argued that the development ‘totally destroys my privacy’, while Robert Yorke called the application ‘totally unacceptable planning creep’ and felt there was ‘no justification for a two-storey garage’.

Meanwhile Penny Simpson, chair of Itchingfield Parish Council, added: “This is a cynical attempt by the applicant to bypass most of the constraints of the planning system.”

Stuart Ritchie (Con, Itchingfield, Slinfold and Warnham) argued that the answer was conditions, and it was a ‘shame this comes before us to sort out a dispute between neighbours’.

He added: “I have the greatest sympathy for the neighbours. I think they have been very badly treated through this application, mostly by the applicant but also by the council which has made mistakes but put its hands up.”

Fellow ward member Tricia Youtan was ‘extremely sorry’ for the neighbours, but thought that ‘now is the time to draw a line under it’.

The committee asked for extra conditions around extra landscaping and glazed windows overlooking neighbouring properties.

Neither the applicant nor an agent for the scheme spoke at the committee meeting.

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