Members of Peterborough City Council granted a retrospective planning application to Eye Post Office, against the advice of one of their own officers, in order to prevent further break-ins
The meeting of the Planning & Environmental Protection Committee heard from Nicholas Harding, Head of Development & Construction who said: “The shutters applied to the outside of the Post Office windows do not meet with planning standards”.
Mr Harding was recommending to members that they refuse the application on the basis that shutters of this kind are usually installed inside the property.
But Mr and Mrs Patel, who have run the small Post Office in Eye for 25 years explained: “We have been broken into five times in the last four years, and when the glass was broken on June 22, the cost of the replacement was in excess of £1600”.
“We spoke with a shutter company”, said Mrs Patel “And they informed us that their shutters did not need planning approval, so, as they were the professionals, we simply accepted their advice. Otherwise, of course, we would have applied for planning”.
Speaking in favour of the Patels, Cllr Steve Allen said: “The Parish Council have no objections to these shutters and there are several very similar to those on the Post Office just meters down the same street”.
Cllr Nigel Simons, also speaking in favour of the Patels, added: “After the last break-in in June, the Police looked at perfectly good CCTV from the Post Office, identified a known criminal, and then decided that there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute. So you can imagine why the Patels were so upset. I believe they had no option but to install these shutters”.
Cllr Peter Hiller said: “Since you have had the shutters installed have there been any additional incidents?”, Mr Patel confirmed that there had been none.
Cllr Mohammed Jamil said: “It is obvious that these people were simply looking to protect their property, and took the advice of professional installers – albeit that the advice given to them was wrong; otherwise I am certain they would have applied for planning permission”.
Chairman, Cllr Chris Harper pointed out: “There are times when the planning application recommendations can appear to be a bit heavy-handed, and while I generally do not like to go against Planning Officers recommendations, in this instance I think it is the right thing that we do just that”.
Councillors unanimously agreed to grant retrospective planning application.