Playhouse statement ‘pompous codswallop’

The Fokt family of Crowland are fighting to keep their playhouse. ANL-140929-100108001
The Fokt family of Crowland are fighting to keep their playhouse. ANL-140929-100108001
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A Crowland family at the centre of a row over a garden playhouse are being advised to resubmit their planning application after comments about its refusal were described as “pompous codswallop”.

In last week’s Free Press, the Fokt family of Millfield Gardens, told how Olivia (9) was heartbroken when her father, Pawel, was told by South Holland District Council that the playhouse had to be lowered or moved.

Keen not to be seen as killjoys, Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, portfolio holder for planning, has issued a new statement regarding their decision.

But Coun Chris Brewis, who sits on the planning committee, said: “As a member of the planning committee, have we nothing better to do, than punish families who are providing for their children things which we enjoyed when we were young, when not pursued by mindless, petty bureaucracy?

“I never thought I would have to say this, but the pompous codswallop which Mr Gambba-Jones is quoted as offering, left me speechless with amazement.

“My granddaughter had a playhouse much higher than this one. Never a problem of any sort.

“Perhaps it is just as well that she moved away from Stalinist South Holland to the more genial planning regimes of rural Norfolk!”

Coun Brewis has suggested the family resubmit the planning application for discussion in committee.

In the meantime, the new statement from Coun Gambba-Jones, says: “When we became aware of the play house through a complaint by a member of the public we offered help and advice to the owner and gave a number of suggestions to achieve an acceptable compromise, but our offers were not taken up.

“Had we been asked before the play house was built then we would have suggested an alternative location and design, which would have protected the privacy of neighbours.

“The council has to balance the rights of property owners with those of other residents. In this instance, given the harm caused, we had to refuse permission.”