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Illegal house in Greatstone, Romney Marsh to be demolished following council decision

An 'intrusive' bungalow that overlooks the English Channel will be torn down after it was built without planning permission.

Members of Folkestone and Hythe District Council's (FHDC) planning committee agreed to 'stick to their guns' over the illegal house on Romney Marsh at their meeting last night.

Councillors have agreed to serve an enforcement notice on this house
Councillors have agreed to serve an enforcement notice on this house

An enforcement notice will now be served on the property, erected in the back garden of an existing house along Coast Drive, Greatstone, requiring its demolition.

The notice also requires the garden is levelled again after the house, which has its own bedroom, kitchen/lounge/dining area, bathroom and terrace, was built 2m above ground level.

In a report from planning officers a number of reasons why the single-storey house was deemed 'unacceptable' were listed, including the 'unbalanced' visual amenity, parking issues, impact on neighbour's privacy and potential harm caused to nearby Greatstone Dunes, a Site of Specific Scientific Interest.

The access to the property, absence of cycle storage space and lack of 'discreet' storage for bins also went against its favour.

During the meeting it was heard FHDC had received an email from the agent behind the project which requested the committee defer the decision on the grounds there is 'no public speaking' allowed on the item.

Photographs from 2015 show construction work
Photographs from 2015 show construction work

The email also said a lot of the information in the report was 'inaccurate'.

However, as the email didn't explain what the inaccuracies were, officers were unable to respond.

Cllr Jackie Meade (Lab) asked if the home was put before planning officers today would it be recommended for approval.

They responded no.

Cllr David Wimble (Ind) said he often walks past the house and said it was a lot bigger than a previous chalet that stood before it.

He said: "This isn't a like for like building. I understand there was a beach hut/house there previously. This is about 64sqm bigger.

"This isn't something you build yourself from B&Q either. It's a professional building.

Cllr David Wimble
Cllr David Wimble

"I understand this has been going on for some time, and no retrospective planning put in, which is the obvious thing to do.

"If they did it because they thought they didn't have to you'd have thought they would put some retrospective in.

"There are rules and regulations for an obvious reason. We can only talk on planning law, and this is in breach of it.

"As nice as it might look, there's not an awful lot we can do but to go along with the recommendation."

Cllr John Collier (Con) added: "I think it is important we are seen as proactive in matters such as this.

Cllr John Collier
Cllr John Collier

"We had one not long ago that we opted to pursue and we should pursue this one.

"We should make sure we stick to our guns and that we're not blown off course in anyway."

Members voted unanimously to support the recommendation to tear the house down.

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