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Developer ordered to halt construction over planning ‘breach’

PUBLISHED: 09:28 08 December 2018 | UPDATED: 09:28 08 December 2018

Ben James, director of Estateducation, was granted permission by Broadland District Council in 2017 to partially demolish and convert the office at 27 Yarmouth Road. Photo: Luke Powell

Ben James, director of Estateducation, was granted permission by Broadland District Council in 2017 to partially demolish and convert the office at 27 Yarmouth Road. Photo: Luke Powell

Archant

The Broads Authority has been forced to apologise and a developer ordered to halt work over the redevelopment of a vacant office block in Thorpe St Andrew.

Ben James, director of Estateducation, was granted permission by Broadland District Council in 2017 to partially demolish and convert the office at 27 Yarmouth Road. Photo: Luke PowellBen James, director of Estateducation, was granted permission by Broadland District Council in 2017 to partially demolish and convert the office at 27 Yarmouth Road. Photo: Luke Powell

Ben James, director of Estateducation, was granted permission by Broadland District Council in 2017 to partially demolish and convert the office at 27 Yarmouth Road.

But less than 12 months on, the local authority issued a temporary stop notice at the site over an alleged breach of planning control.

Broadland said the notice aimed to safeguard the “local amenity” from unauthorised development being undertaken, specifically the building’s entire demolition.

The Broads Authority has also had to apologise after wrongly granting permission to cut down trees at the site, despite having no jurisdiction over the land.

Ben James, director of Estateducation, was granted permission by Broadland District Council in 2017 to partially demolish and convert the office at 27 Yarmouth Road. Photo: Luke PowellBen James, director of Estateducation, was granted permission by Broadland District Council in 2017 to partially demolish and convert the office at 27 Yarmouth Road. Photo: Luke Powell

While the temporary stop notice expired on October 12, Broadland said the developer would have to reapply for planning permission before work could continue.

Mr James, who is planning to build 25 flats at the site, said: “The original plan was to demolition the majority of the building whilst adding floors to the existing part to the front.

“When the demolition contractor was working on the site, he informed us that it wasn’t safe to be converted and represented a threat to public safety that it could fall down at anytime.

“I took the sensible approach in asking the demolition contractor to demolish the building in order to keep the public safe that walk past the site on a daily basis.”

Ben James, director of Estateducation, was granted permission by Broadland District Council in 2017 to partially demolish and convert the office at 27 Yarmouth Road. Photo: Luke PowellBen James, director of Estateducation, was granted permission by Broadland District Council in 2017 to partially demolish and convert the office at 27 Yarmouth Road. Photo: Luke Powell

Mr James said despite his stressing the risk to public health, the council took enforcement action.

A Broadland spokesman said the 28-day stop notice was issued on September 14 to safeguard the local amenity from the unauthorised development.

The spokesman said: “The breach was the failure to comply with planning permission which allows for part demolition, part conversion and the addition of two floors to the existing office to provide 25 flats.”

Regarding the trees cut down at the site, Mr James said the Broads Authority issued consent “directly” to the tree surgeon to do so.

A Broads Authority spokesman said: “The developer approached the Broads Authority in September 2018 regarding planning issues at the site even though the application was being dealt with by Broadland District Council. The Broads Authority planning officer made a mistake and advised that trees could be removed.

“The Broads Authority should not have offered this advice because the site is just outside the Broads executive area. We have apologised to both Broadland District Council and Thorpe St Andrew Town Council for the mistake.”

Despite Broadland’s comments, Mr James said work on the site will continue.

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