The development at 1 Quarry High Street of six three-storey town houses received planning permission in September 2006. As part of this permission a number of conditions were applied to the development which had to fulfilled before construction was begun.
Construction on houses began last year and in September we realized that the building was too high and too large for the site and informed Planning Enforcement at the City Council of our concerns. In discussions with them they have agreed that the building is too high, but they have consistently down-played our other concerns. They have also suggested that the increase in height is relatively minor, something which we simply do not accept. No accurate estimate of the height has been made available to us.
The letter granting permission to build contained a number of conditions which had to be fulfilled and some of these had to be completed before building was started. These included a proper site survey to ensure that the development could be fitted into the site and a survey of contamination on the site. In initial discussions with the Enforcement team we became aware that records pertaining to these could not be found. Currently this remains the case at least one condition. We note that recently another condition, also intended to be done before the building started, about getting permission for the facing materials to be used to cover the building has appeared on the planning site. We still have not, despite asking to do so, seen any evidence that the other conditions have been fulfilled, though we have had reassurances that they have.
As a result of contacting Enforcement we were told in November that the builder had been asked to submit a retrospective planning application. However we have doubts that this has happened as the time limit for such an application has passed and nothing has appeared on the planning website. In discussion with the authorities we have pressed to see the paperwork relating to the planning conditions and the enforcement reports. Despite freedom of information requests this has not been possible, due to legal reasons. Currently we are trying to meet with the planning and enforcement team to discuss these issues, and have submitted another freedom of information request for all the paperwork relating to the initial granting of planning permission.
We continue to work with our local Councillors to try and find out what is happening and intend to hold a public meeting when we are clear as to what happened and what remedies might be available.