After being told that her newly designed home is the wrong colour, widow, Jayne Fawcett of Walton-le-Dale, Lancashire, declares that she has now been left homeless. Aged 62, she and her late husband had designed their house choosing the colour grey for the external walls, as the bricks they had wanted were unavailable.
The design of the house was granted planning permission and the home was built, but Mrs Fawcett then applied to have alterations done to a wet room and was told by the council that she had to change the external colour of the property. They said that the property being grey was “excessively prominent and harmful to the local area’s character“.
The council claimed that, from the start, it had been made clear that there had to be an agreement on colour before the house was built. But the widow opposes this accusation, declaring that the grey colour had been deemed suitable for the three bedroom property.
After her husband passed away in March 2014, Mrs Fawcett now fears that she will be breaking the law if she lives in her own home and she cannot afford the £20,000 that was quoted for her house to be repainted. She tried to appeal to the Secretary of the State about the planning decision but the appeal has been declined.
Mrs Fawcett gave her view of the situation saying:
“I have had no confirmation at all and I’m not one to break the law. No one has rated the property for council tax, so how can I move in?”
However, South Ribble Borough Council have claimed that there isn’t actually anything, for the time being, prohibiting Mrs Fawcett from living in her home.
The council said that when a new building planning application is received, a condition requiring the details of the materials is usually imposed to be agreed on. A spokesman has reported that a notice that contained this information was issued to Mrs Fawcett’s agent.
But Mrs Fawcett argued
“Nobody ever specified the colour that I had to have my house, if I had known then I would have waited for the bricks that we wanted to become available.”
“My late husband and I had decided that our home had a modern design so we wanted it to be grey, so I have just continued with his wishes. Also, the K-Rend is maintenance free, so, as a part-time working widow, I have to be very careful about that. The council keep saying that the grey colour doesn’t fit in with the area, but it’s just built in my mother’s orchard so she’s the only person that looks at it really. She says that she doesn’t want it in white or cream, because she thinks that those colours would look alienated.”
Mrs Fawcett has now sold her previous home and since July she has been living with family and friends, as she was told that she could not move into the new home until it was signed off by planning officials.
PE/BT www.propertysurveying.co.uk 06/11/15