‘This is just the start’, says neighbour in 30 year planning dispute (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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‘This is just the start’, says neighbour in 30 year planning dispute
People living in a street embroiled in a 30-year-old planning dispute with a neighbour have welcomed the demolition of an illegal building, but have vowed to fight on for further action.
For three decades residents in Dale View Avenue, Chingford, have complained about over a number of buildings erected on land they say is protected by a covenant.
Mr Gage, 57, last year admitted building a stand-alone dwelling and garages converted into a flat without planning permission.
Council bulldozers moved in to tear down the stand-alone flat yesterday after Mr Gage was ordered to knock the building down within a month, but failed to do so.
Mr Gage is currently recovering after being gored by a bull during a festival while on holiday in Portugal.
He underwent emergency surgery and spent three days in intensive care after suffering injuries to his legs, groin and ribs.
Dale View Resident’s Association (DVRA) secretary, Gordon Wilkinson, 82, said he welcomed yesterday’s demolition, but called more to be done.
“The neighbours have been suffering for years. They are pleased that at long last the council have acted as the council should,” he said.
“I think it’s long overdue. It should have happened years ago."
The DVRA has called on the council to demolish the garages and another building on the land which it says was built illegally in the 80s.
“This is just the start,” added Mr Wilkinson.
Members of DVRA say they have spent nearly £10,000 on legal fees over the issue.
Mr Gage was fined £500 and £1,000 costs in November 2012 for ignoring the council’s enforcement notice to knock the stand-alone building down.
The council accused Mr Gage of “playing the system for a number of years” and said yesterday’s demolition should act as a warning.
The authority confirmed it is still pursuing the issue of the converted garages, which should have been converted back in 2009 under the terms of an order.
It also said it plans to strip the garages of any amenities as soon as it is given permission by the courts.
Cllr Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, said: “While it’s obviously regrettable that it took so long to bring this matter to fruition, it is nevertheless testament to the fact that the ultimate sanction this Council will bring to bear against people who erect buildings without planning permission is to knock their properties down.
“Rest assured we will be charging the cost of demolishing and removing this building back to Mr Gage and we will not let up in the other action that is still pending against him and his property.”
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