An incensed West Berkshire councillor has voiced his anger at a housing developer, and started personal investigations into the company, writes Brian Radford.
Howard Bairstow has launched a scathing attack on developers Waddington Forbes Homes at the way they secured planning permission for two bungalows on a site in Upper Eddington, near Hungerford, but built two large houses there instead.
It took a council enforcement order to halt the work, but the developer appealed, and an independent planning inspector recently ruled that building can resume on both houses, each valued at around £800,000.
“They should be coming down,” stormed Cllr Bairstow.
“It’s a ruse, a scandal, and it makes a mockery of normal planning procedures.
“They even had the gall to ask for expenses, which the inspector turned down.
“I feel so strongly about it that I shall be seeking information from councils close to where this company is based [near Maidenhead] to find out whether this has happened before.
“I shall also ask our council chairman to challenge the inspector’s decision. If it stands it could give the green light for others to do the same, and the floodgates would open.”
Cllr Bairstow, the former mayor of Newbury, has spent the past three years on the council’s western area planning committee, and 10 years as a Conservative councillor.
He added: “It makes me angry. We went through a long, detailed process to ensure the two bungalows were suitable for the area, which included checking on roads, power supplies, speaking to neighbours.
“But it was a total waste of time because the developer went ahead with something entirely different and had no approval.
“The views of local people have been ignored, the planning process has been ignored, so I’m determined to fight it with a view to both houses being pulled down.
“The battle is far from over.”
Bill Forbes, director of Waddington Forbes Homes, said: ”I have no comment to make on this matter at the moment.”