Council 'made to look a fool'

PUBLISHED: 17:37 09 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:22 06 May 2010

Mrs Martindale says the building projects have blighted her life

Mrs Martindale says the building projects have blighted her life

COUNCILLORS have conceded that a house developer has run rings round planners and made the council look like a fool . Mahommed Hajoceman bought a three-bedroom home in Springfield Road, St Albans, in 1999. Since then he has increased its size so that it

COUNCILLORS have conceded that a house developer has run rings round planners and made the council "look like a fool".

Mahommed Hajoceman bought a three-bedroom home in Springfield Road, St Albans, in 1999. Since then he has increased its size so that it now includes two one-bedroom flats and a double garage in the garden.

His neighbour Mrs Jean Martindale, aged 68, claims that the building projects have blighted her life. She has lived in her Camp Road home for 39 years and she and her late husband Jim, who died last year, brought their three children up there.

She said: "At one stage Mr Hajoceman applied to build a one-bedroom bungalow in the garden but this was refused but then he built a garage in the garden with a pitched roof that extended three breeze blocks above my fence."

When a high-pitched roof went on, Jean's husband Jim was ill with a brain tumour but when people moved in to live there Jean decided to enlist the help of the council's enforcement officers.

She said: "At one stage he had six Velux windows in the bungalow - five on the front and one overlooking my house."

Enforcement

At a meeting of SADC's cabinet last week, councillors heard how an enforcement notice had been issued against Mr Hajoceman ordering him to remove the Velux windows and reduce the roof height.

He had removed the Velux windows, the porch and the internal walls and put in garage doors but instead of reducing the roof height, he raised the level of the ground surrounding the garage, effectively reducing the height of the building.

Head of Planning Dean Goodman said: "The wording of the enforcement notice did not reflect what the committee wanted."

And council leader, Cllr Robert Donald said: "We have been given the run-around. Our council has been made to look like a fool."

Planning portfolio holder Cllr Chris Brazier said he would hold a meeting with Mr Goodman and the council's legal officers about the wording of enforcement notices.

Mrs Martindale told cabinet: "My situation is not being helped by promises that this will not happen in the future. I want to know what the council is going to do about it.

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