Fury as Lake District planning laws are ‘flouted’ – yet again

A NEW home in Troutbeck has sparked an outcry from parish councillors who claim planners are allowing property owners to ‘bend the rules’.

Councillors say they have lost faith in the Lake District National Park’s planning officers recommended approval for a retrospective planning application at Beckside Farm.

Members claim Doug Freeman’s three-bedroom house, which villagers believe is being run as a bed and breakfast, is larger than the one he was given permission for in 2008.

“The parish council is annoyed that someone can apply for one thing and build another,” said Coun Pip Simpson.

“Unless the National Park rethinks its approach to planning, this example could open up a floodgate of similar applications.

"I don’t have any objection to him building a home but it is the principle that matters – why weren’t officers checking the build as it went along?”

Letters of objection from neighbours expressed concern that the house is too high, 1.5m longer at one gable end, and that more windows have been added.

Trees depicted in the original plans have been chopped down.

These changes were noted in a report by an LDNPA planning officer but Mr Freeman’s application is being recommended for approval at next Wednesday’s development control committee meeting.

Coun Louise Waterhouse, of Troutbeck, described this latest case as ‘the last straw’, adding: “I think people think nothing will happen to them if they use retrospective planning – invariably that’s the case with the national park and that’s why everyone’s so cross.”

Resident Geoff Brown said there were already three ongoing cases in the village of people allegedly breaching planning laws.

“In a small village such as Troutbeck, which is in a conservation area, it is vitally important that people abide by the planning laws so that the inherent character of our village is maintained or enhanced.

“Until the planners start taking a far stronger stance on infringements, then people will continue to flout the laws because they know that ultimately they will get away with it.”

Mark Casey of the LDNPA said he would not able to comment until after next Wednesday’s meeting.

Mr Freeman, formerly of Town End Farm, Troutbeck, was not responding to requests for a comment yesterday.