Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Power-less People.


I've previously mentioned that a relative 'newcomer' neighbour had applied for, and was granted, permission to build a small holiday village right bang in the middle of our tiny hamlet. He wished to install 5 semi-buried converted old shipping containers.

Quite naturally all the surrounding neighbours complained; we were horrified at such an idea. No-one had been consulted, or informed, and the first we knew of the project was when he began digging huge holes in his field.

We consulted a lawyer. Letters were written to the Mayor, and to the planning authorities.


We have now just received their reply (above) which states that everything is in order, and the planning permission stands. But that was hardly the point; they have totally ignored the wishes of the neighbours, or even the devious ways in which matters were handled.

                                           

Above is a rough idea of how the neighbours surround the proposed holiday park. Our house is under the toy car (bottom right). Where is says Parc de Loisir Proposé is the area where he intends to install the 5 old shipping containers; these will house a maximum of 20 holiday makers. He also has a Gite which houses another 7.

What was once a haven of architectural beauty, and bucolic tranquility (the reason why we all bought our homes here), is soon to become a noisy holiday camp.

In the above letter it states that the containers must be buried, covered with 'vegetation', and any bits left showing must be disguised with wooden cladding. The whole area must also be surrounded by hedging. In other words the authorities perfectly understand how pig-ugly it will be, and he must do his best to hide them from the rest of us. That's as far as their recommendations go.

No consideration has been given to the fact that our tiny hamlet is composed of very beautiful ancient vernacular stone-built houses. As far as we are all concerned, his project is an eyesore. OK, we may have lost Round 1, but we ain't finished!

Personally I have gone overboard to ensure that all my building work is in harmony with local style, and that materials used are sourced from locals artisans. Then along comes someone who totally ignores such things. It makes me wonder why I bloody bothered.

As usual I mention no names in such circumstances, but I am very tempted to do so. We are all fucking annoyed!



48 comments:

  1. Apart from everything else what I find peculiar: Who would want holiday accommodation in a bunker (underground) other than moles? It's such a strange idea.

    By way of little consolation, twenty seven people won't be that "noisy".

    Commiserations,
    U

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    1. I certainly wouldn't take a holiday in an old buried container, nor can I think who would. Imagine 27 people around a pool; children ALWAYS shout when swimming.

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    2. Judging by the way a family that descends on a hamlet for a month in the summer can totally destroy peace and quiet for the neighbours, I can imagine the racket and totally see why you are worried about it. Late night parties and bbq's, swimming pool racket, loud music, barking dogs, screaming babies, car doirs banging etc. An acquaintance has her tranquility completely destroyed every summer by just one large family descending on the hamlet to their country home from Paris for the month of August.
      Goodness knows why anyone would want to holiday in an old container, which doesn't bode well for the kind of guests that just might and what kind of holiday they expect.
      I have read elsewhere of dodgy planning deals in France and the lack of consultation surely must have some impact on how legal this is. I'm distraught for you, it's simply not right.

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  2. Absolutely appalling. I'm lost for words.

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    1. As are we, but it seems as if we are powerless.

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    2. I should add that Lumberjack is a village of 240 residents, and over 150 signed a petition against the project.

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  3. Good luck in your campaign. Fight the bastard!

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    Replies
    1. We're also fighting French bureaucracy; which is almost impossible.

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  4. Annoyed!! That's a mild version of what I would feel like if I lived in/near your village.

    Alphie

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    1. I was trying to keep my blood pressure down.

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  5. Now a days this happens in many areas...

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    1. Sadly so, but this an area which depends on a very specific type of tourism. People come for the beauty of the countryside, the architecture, and the food; not for underground bunkers.

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  6. A similar story last year here, our village has expanded out of all recognition, and the latest development of 69 new houses was fought tooth and nail by local residents and the parish council who voiced concerns about flooding, over-loaded sewage system and the fact that the local school was over-subscribed now and couldn't accommodate any more pupils.

    Needless to say, the big developer won and work is scheduled to start soon.

    I wish you good luck in your fight, but sadly I agree that fighting bureaucracy is a bit like pissing into the wind.

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    1. Right opposite my Brighton house was a little used private car park. The owner (a councilor) demanded that an unsafe wall be re-built by the council, at a cost of £500,000, then promptly sold the land to a developer, and a row of houses was built against the newly reinforced wall. The half-million was not repaid.

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    2. Sounds about right, I wonder how many times this sort of behavior is repeated?

      My understanding is that councilors were elected for their desire and ability to serve as a voice for their electorate, but now it seems that some of them are more aware of the self-serving possibilities.

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  7. That is just terrible. As others have said,who would want to holiday in a bunker. Will your Mayor not even speak directly to you and your neighbours?

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    1. He has done, but he supports the project.

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  8. I wonder if the person proposing the park is French? Looking at the names on your map a lot of them do not look or sound French. Given the current relations between France and the U.K. complaints from rosbifs are not going to carry weight. Also I suspect that the French do not understand the importance and beauty of their local buildings. Add the fact that no doubt there have been promises of jobs for local youngsters and you in trouble. No doubt of course that any jobs created will be filled by cheap labour from Eastern Europe, but hey that's the EU for you.

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    1. He is French, but of Portuguese origin (I think). Some of those English sounding names are French (Christine, Tracey, etc).

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  9. Just a thought here. Many planners fail to realise that shipping containers are not designed to be buried. The very design calls for all the stress to be placed on mid reinforced sections andthe corners as they as stacked. Burying them introduces lateral and vertical stresses they were not designed for. I suggest you check that the planning conditions have included such reinforcement and suitable rust prevention coatings on the exterior. There are several cases where such underground buildings have collapsed both through weight and corrosion. It would give you grounds to object and the substantial increase in cost may well derail his plan.

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    1. I've heard that they have a very short life-expectancy; anywhere between 10 and 15 years, so definitely false economy. It would have been far wiser to invest a little more, and have something more attractive and longer lasting.

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  10. I'm lost for words Cro, I just wish you all luck with your campaign. Is there any chance that the whole thing could be in a flood zone...or made to be...?

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    1. I can't see how he can avoid them flooding, unless he creates some very comprehensive drainage system beneath each one.

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  11. Nimby. They are buried, you won't know they are there except for camp fire singing late at night if the wind is in your direction.

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    1. If only that was true. We often sit outside and there is not the slightest sound; not even birds. That will be lost for ever. There will be cars, dogs, and children all over the place.

      The area is not short of ideal properties for this type of project, where he would disturb no-one.

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    2. Shipping containers are the latest must-have must-go camping holiday accommodation over here. Container glamping. Everyone is doing it. Embrace.

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    3. I'll tell him that Norfolk is crying out for them; you might get a delivery.

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    4. Sorry, no room. We're already full up - gypsies.

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  12. So in France at times local residents have a say in what happens in their village? What a curious idea. Believe me, that happens rarely here. I would think you would have an opportunity to express your displeasure at local elections. THAT has certainly happened here, with councillors of one of the richest local councils thrown out because of overdevelopment of a particular iconic site. The fat lady does not sing until well after the first sod is turned, but you have to be very tenacious.

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    1. Our Mayor has already said he won't stand again, so we can't even vote him out.

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  13. There are a few - more and more - truly awful developments which have been approved by the normally highly strict planning authorities around here. Part of the trouble is that the government has ordered builders to throw up more and more houses. They build a plot of about 50 houses, none of which could ever be afforded by a first time buyer. They have been given a licence to print money. Bath itself is one big holiday home, so we don't need any more.

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    1. Our lot like to have more and more cash flowing into the coffers, but quality cash would be preferable in the long term.

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  14. I hope you all keep fighting till you win. I have been where you are and if enough people get organized to stop this, you might have a chance. I live out on a country road to enjoy all that it offers but there is constant noise about rezoning and construction. So far, we have stopped them. I do know, though, that eventually money will win.

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    1. And having friends in high places helps too.

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  15. Truly sorry to hear about this Cro, I really feel for you. It goes against the grain, ugly 'buildings' sunk in the earth with lots of noisy folk not caring who they disturb. Such a shame. Jean

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    1. I think you just about summed it up perfectly.

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  16. I'm astonished that you weren't consulted. Round here every house, within a certain area, gets a notification letter as part of the planning process. At least you know well in advance and before the plan is considered by the planning office.

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    1. They put up a sign after we'd all complained, but it should have been there before.

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  17. I am sure money was exchanged hands. No other reason for ugly, noisy holiday homes. He is destroying a village.
    Maybe blackmail ?

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. I wouldn't go that far, but he's very persistent.

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  18. I feel your pain........the man with 17 starts work on his bungalow behind us very soon

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  19. You must, absolutely, protest, and keep on protesting. Someone had permission to build a race track near Brantome, and the locals campaigned. The decision was overturned: the locals won. You can Google it: I think it was the 'Bagatelle' project. Hope it helps for possible campaign ideas.

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    1. This project is simply WRONG on so many fronts. We just can't understand what on earth was going through their empty heads.

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  20. Even when we planned our family cemetery on our 7 acre farm with no neighbors for 1/2 mile, our land surrounded on four sides by fields...we had to notify the neighbors of our plans and the entire COUNTY had the opportunity to protest. Keep fighting Cro.

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    1. There are so many landed properties (abandoned farms) around where he would disturb no-one; why does he have to choose here?

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    2. It would indeed be very interesting to have an answer to that question. There must be a reason and maybe a way to stop him because of it.

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  21. To have a holiday camp be built in the middle of a hamlet makes the least sense to me.

    No matter what anyone says to the contrary, life in the hamlet will be irreparably changed.

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