24.07.2001 - Letter to Operational Services Diresctor John Haynes

37 Church Road
Royal Tunbridge Wells

e-mail: telephonehouse@cs.com
internet: http://uk.geocities.com/telephonehouse

FAO: John Haynes, Esq
Director of Operational Services
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Town Hall TN1 1RS

24 July 2001

Dear Mr Haynes

Telephone House development
- LOCAL PLAN REVIEW Deposit Copy - Policy H6(a)

Thank you for your letter of 13 June. May I address the issues you have raised.

  1. Members of the public sitting in the Council Chamberís gallery were left with the impression that you unduly influenced Councillors not to consider our request to dismiss Policy H6 (a) / Telephone House of the Local Plan Review - Deposit Copy in their voting. We consider that your wording "I advised that consideration of your request should be made following wider exposure/consultation on the draft local plan review and in due course feedback to Members" implies the same as advising Councillors not to take into account our specific request for the evening of 23 May.

  2. We apologised to Cllr Howell and received correspondence from both Councillors. Would you please provide us with the text of the "Standing Order No. 6."

  3. As far as the Rights of Light is concerned, residents would not need to think about filing an application with the Land Tribunal or the Land Charge Registry, if Policy H6 (a) / Telephone House did not directly or indirectly raise this issue.

    At this moment, due to the Inspectorís decision a planning permission is extant for a "dominant building" to be erected. If Tunbridge Wells Borough Council accepts the Inspector's decision unchallenged, despite the fact that some of his reasoning is based on the controversial Policy H6(a), owners of the eight houses opposite the development will suffer loss of light, loss of privacy by overlooking, and subsequently a loss in value of their properties. Will the Council accept full responsibility for the aggrievement residents will suffer due to Policy H6 (a) ?

  4. We are pleased about your statement that the document "does not specify following a building line".

    We must have misinterpreted the original text "Both Church Road and York Road should include frontage development to follow existing building lines restoring the Victorian urban form which still exists in the vicinity of this site. On York Road, the building line should create a sense of enclosure, reflecting the depth of front gardens in the surrounding residential areas."

    We assume that the depth of front gardens of the houses York Road Nos. 31-41 applies.
    Please confirm.

  5. In Item 3 of your letter you wrote: "You may need independent legal advice" . Will the Council meet our reasonable costs for legal advice as well as for the necessary surveys?

    These costs will result from the Councilís decision to include Policy H6(a) in the Local Plan and will mainly consist of an independent survey to be carried out with regard to Loss of Light.
    We would seek legal advice with regard to devaluation of properties through loss of privacy, amenity, and filing our Right of Light with the respective authorities as mentioned by you in your Item 3.

Would you please advise the Operational Services Board Meeting on Thursday, 26 July, of the contents of this letter.

Yours sincerely
Annemarie Toppliss

During summer/autumn 2001, after the Public Inquiry - The attitude of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's
Chief Executive and Director of Operational Services towards Residents

Could the Inspector's decisions have been challenged ?

Bizarrely, Policy H6(a) allocated for Telephone House was identical to the two refused planning applications for the Telephone House development.
[1st: refused at delegated officers' level - 2nd: refused by the Councillors of the Western Area Planning Committee].
Policy H6(a) is the most controversial document, produced by the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, leading to the Telephone House Debacle.

The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Tunbridge Wells
The aims are to heighten peoples' awareness and concern for the high-density development on Telephone House site, Church Road / York Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1.