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Extension 'error' could cost family thousands
A MOTHER fears her family could be left out of pocket if they have to demolish a £40,000 extension to their house.
Tania Ellerbeck, of Pexalls Close, Holt Park, Hook, said she and her husband built an extension to the roof space in their home, having taken advice from a planning officer at Hart District Council.
But when she was later advised to put in a retrospective planning application, it was turned down – and she has now been told to get rid of the extension, which she says will cost another £40,000.
The mother-of-three said she wanted it built to provide a separate bedroom for one of her two sons, who she says has behavioural difficulties.
Mrs Ellerbeck said: “I am really annoyed. I am a strong believer in not breaking the rules so when the planning officer came around for the second time to say we were not doing it right, I was totally devastated.
“My husband and I took out a personal loan and used savings to pay for it. If we have to take it down, I don’t know where we will get the money from.”
Initially, Mrs Ellerbeck thought she could have the extension without planning permission because it was small enough to fall within permitted development rights.
What she did not know at the time was that Hart District Council has removed those rights for certain houses on the estate, including those in Pexalls Close.
She claimed the planning officer, who visited the house two weeks into the build, said it would be acceptable, so the building work carried on.
The planning committee refused her application at its latest meeting, stating it was not in keeping with the rest of the estate.
Robert Jackson, development manager at Hart District Council, disputed Mrs Ellerbeck’s interpretation of what she was told by the planning officer.
He said: “She was not told it would be alright – she was told she had the option of making a planning application. Whether or not she believed being told she had the option of making a planning application meant she would be alright [to carry on] is a different question.”
Mr Jackson added that Mrs Ellerbeck has the right to appeal both the retrospective planning application decision and the enforcement notice.