"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Easter, Unwanted News and St Lawrence, Meriden

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter.

We had a quiet time at home with just the four of us.  By the way I know the Simnel cake has the wrong number of marzipan balls but to be honest I'm in a bit of a state at the moment and finding it hard to think straight. The reason for this I'll explain later.

 Some of you may remember that we were very worried last autumn about extensive building plans submitted to the planning department for  the semi-detached next door which links onto ours.  As it happened all worked out ok then as the plans were refused for at least half a dozen reasons.  We were relieved as the neighbours planned to move out for what we believe is at least a year as the house is not only going to be extended and altered internally at the rear (ground and first floor, but at the side, in the garage and above plus a loft room, new roof and twin gables (OTT!!) front and back of the house. In fact once finished they will have increased the original footprint of the house 3 fold!!!! The dust and noise would have been never ending.

Unfortunately the plans were re-submitted with just two small changes - they left off the "garden room" which already exists as it was built about 10 years ago and the conservatory which was the least of our worries.  We really did think that as so many of the reasons for refusal remained they would not get planning permission again. Sadly, we heard last week that this time (we are still bemused as to why) the plans had been approved.  

I wish I had known the decision 10 days ago as a rather super house had appeared on the market in a small hamlet near the village of Meriden and right next to a woodland nature reserve.  Of course by the time I decided we needed to view the house had already been sold!  Sorry long winded start to the post!  On the day the decision came through I just had to get out of the house to stop me pacing up and down so I decided to have a look at the house exterior and wood anyway in case other houses become available there.  It would have been perfect and I am somewhat kicking myself as we already guessed they would keep on submitting the plans until they were approved.

Anyway while in Meriden I decided to visit the churchyard of St Lawrence.

Church Farm

Mounting Block outside the churchyard.

The church of St Lawrence has  a Norman chancel. I've never seen inside as it is kept locked although (in normal times) I think it is sometimes open on a Sunday afternoon.

Moat House - timber framed and dated 1609 although Pevsner thinks it looks older.  D and I did a walk round here a few years back and thought the house looked spooky - it still does!

Grimmia Moss on the churchyard wall.

Back home in the garden I have seen several bumble bees, my first bee fly, two unidentified butterflies (too far away although possibly Peacock and Orange Tip).  Blue tits are busy building a nest box in the box with a camera and we have a Blackbird's nest with eggs in a holly bush.  A pair of Siskins appeared on the garden feeders briefly yesterday which was a great garden "tick" for the year.

Frogspawn has finally appeared although only a very small amount. Common/Smooth newts are also now appearing in the pond - are they eating all the frog tadpoles?

Wood anemones are now in flower as is Wood Sorrel and Green Alkanet.

I have no idea what we are going to do re: what is happening next door but one thing is certain we shall have to move. We have wanted to do so for some years but D and E still being at home with their jobs complicates matters. Warwickshire rural property is very expensive and I have seen very few affordable properties that I really like.   We shall have a moan at the planning department but it will do no good as, although the applicant can appeal if permission refused, those who objected can't.  We could write to MP or Councillors about the fact that so many issues which were refused the first time were allowed this time but will it get us anywhere?  The only other possibility is to consult a planning solicitor to see if requesting a judicial review (at huge cost!) would be worthwhile. Anyway apologies for being in "rant mode"!!!! One thing is certain I will be taking round a letter refusing access to our garden for any reason and also to point out they are not to chop down/back any shrubs or trees in our garden past the boundary. OK rant definitely over now. Will try not go keep going on about it!

Edit - Sorry going to rant just a bit more!! even worse OH has researched and it appears if we refuse access to our land and house they can take us to court and we will have to agree.  With the pandemic and worries also about security with scaffolding this has made the whole situation even worse. I shall do some extra reseach myself on this because my understanding was that you only have to give permission to access your land if it is to repair an existing building.  You do not have this right of access if you are building a new extension and the planning department suggests that you have a back-up plan in case access is refused.

Rant finally over!!!

I hope everyone is staying safe and well.

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera.


Rustic Pumpkin said...

Well, don't apologise, you have plenty to rant about indeed. It sounds a proper nightmare. I know some of what you are going through, for I was, as I call it, a filling in a building site sandwich, with work going on simultaneously on two sides. It's no joke. One asked for right of access over my land, knocking down boundary walls when he had his own perfectly adequate, but not convenient, access already. I'm glad you were able to get out for a short while. It's not a huge distraction, but must have done you some good, although there's all the stress of the pandemic attached to even the most simple visit, or anything, really today.
Wishing you good luck with all of it!

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

Oh Dear What can I say. Obviously you are SOOOOOOOOOOOO disappointed yes it would be good to check out that last point you made. I looked something up about this and found this web site. now it is talking about you gaining access etc but just reverse that thinking. Here is the link -


Bovey Belle said...

Oh RR, that is hideously awful for you - they must know someone in the planning department as surely this cannot be right, such a gigantic enlargement of an existing property and totally out of keeping with the area (I am assuming). Writing to your MP and Councillors would certainly do no harm.

I hope that you can find a house you like soon (it's the time for houses to come on the market for Spring) and that yours soon attracts a buyer too.

I imagine you will be doing lots of walking now to try and mull this over in your head.

We had Siskins briefly in the winter, now Goldfinches have started to visit regularly, and the pair of Greenfinches are here all day every day. I have finally seen ONE Wagtail in the garden - a Grey one, but it didn't stay long. The pond will hopefully attract it, so fingers crossed it returns.

Amanda Peters said...

I do hope you are feeling a little better and things will turn out ok, you just have to believe and be strong.

You had nice weather on the day you visited the church, lovely photos. Nice to see things are moving in the garden.

Hope you get out next week when lock down ends and spend some time away to come back charged and ready to face the day.
Take care. Amanda xx

Pam said...

What a nightmare Caroline :( plans do seem to get through on a regular basis with a tiny tweak that seems to make no difference to us!! It seems you were already thinking seriously about moving so that may be the way to go, of course added stress in moving but perhaps worth it in the end??

I'm glad you managed to get our and visit the curch, it looks like a lovely day!

Rosie said...

Oh dear, I'm so sorry that you have all this worry and upset on top of everything else, it sounds as if the owners want to renovate and enlarge the house instead of moving, but it isn't fair on you. It is worth writing to councillors again as it seems it was pushed through after a second hearing without your knowledge. No wonder you wanted to get out and about. The village and church at Meriden look lovely and the house does look spooky. Good to see the Spring flowers especially the Wood Anemones which are a favourite of mine. I'm glad you finally got some frogspwan in your pond. Take care:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rustic Pumpkin - Thank you so much for your kind words and support. I know you have gone through horrors with rebuilding work by you and it must have been absolutely awful. When I go out it is the only time I can stop thinking about it all to be honest but there again the pandemic and going out creates its own worries. I can't believe how nervous I have become of close proximity to other people! Also the current situation makes selling and buying a house even more anxiety ridden and difficult. So few decent affordable houses in nice areas available atm too.

Margaret Birding for Pleasure - Thank you so much for your kind words and support. If I could show you all the plans I think you would realise how horrific it will all be. Thank you too for finding the link which I will check out.

Bovey Belle - Thanks so much for your thoughtful words and support. We discovered something else yesterday where shall I say misleadings, if not, downright porkies have been told. Sorry can't go into too much detail as blog not private.

So few houses - affordable, likeable and in a decent area available atm :( So wish I had moved sooner on the one at Millison's Wood!!!

We have had Grey Wagtails fleetingly by our pond in the past. Rarely see greenfinches these days though. The pond will hopefully attract much.

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much Amanda for your kind words and support. It is not going to be a good year again!!! But somehow we will get through it.

Fingers crossed re: next week - I need to get away from here for a while to put things in perspective and calm down.

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thanks so much for your kind words and support. It really is a nightmare and I don't want to move in a rush but it seems we have no choice. Did go and look at one today (exterior only) not a bad location and detached and near countryside and a lnr of woodland. But smaller rooms than this house and much smaller garden. But we are not going to get anything perfect tbh. May ask if they are letting people view interior.

Rosie - Thanks so much for kind words and support. We did know about the second submission and objected again but they just seemed to ignore us telling them yet again that although outbuilding top of garden removed from plans a building of same size already exists!!! There were so many criticisms and reasons for refusal of first plans that we never believed the second lot of plans barely altered would be approved.

I think I shall be going out a lot!!!! Even if just for drives. Have just got to stage where I loathe it round here and want to get out. I shall miss the garden dreadfully but if we can a property in a rural area then countryside would make up for the loss.

The Quacks of Life said...

oh that's sad... I do hope you can find somewhere

Ragged Robin said...

The Quacks of Life - Thanks so much Pete :) Last thing I could do with in current situation :(

Millymollymandy said...

Such a nightmare and I am so sorry for you. It would be nice if you could find out why they were granted the go ahead when they changed so little when they resubmitted their application. I hope your hubby was wrong and that you don't have to give them permission to come on your property. That sounds nuts! Why the hell should you let builders tramp about on your land no doubt filthying it up if not actually trashing things (oops probably make you feel worse now!).

Photos of the church and buildings are lovely, especially the moat house, which is gorgeous. I especially like the mounting block outside the church! Take care xx

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy Thanks so much for your kind words and support. OH has emailed planning department - can't say too much but reply suggests porkies allegedly were told along the line.
I checked initially and my understanding was that they could only access to repair existing buildings and not for new extensions etc. In fact planning stuff suggested you should factor this in your plans in case access refused.
But OH spoke to a solicitor today about it all and apparently if you refuse they can apply for an access order. I am livid to put it mildly. Our trees and shrubs would need to be chopped so they could get into garden plus who wants scaffolding up to first floor with security risk Our insurance company will not be happy and might charge us more. Plus with builders and pandemic I won't feel like going in garden.
Even more angry with myself for not viewing the house in Millisons Wood - looked again and went today to walk round wood - it would have been perfect!! One of only two houses I have seen locally in about 5 years that were worth buying! :( Trouble is we just did not think they would get planning permission due to such little changing and then when it was granted and I went to book a viewing of the house it was sold Subject to Contract :( Sold in 10 days but it was a good buy and price.