DISTRICT COUNCIL: You’re civil servants, not public rulers

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I am writing with reference to your featured story of Mr Bosma and the tree house (Spalding Guardian, May 8), and the South Holland District Council communication to him that effectively said it was “against the law/rules” and to stop.

I have recently been in touch with the council on behalf of myself and others, regarding the establishing of a hair-dressing business within a garage on my street, which is entirely residential.

No permission has been obtained for the conversion of the garage to a commercial premises and the advertising hoarding attached thereto. There are covenants attached to our development that expressly forbid any commercial activity.

These covenants are in force in perpetuity. I was informed by the council that they did not have the resources to investigate this, even when I raised the point of possible loss of business rates, but that it could fall to me, as an original purchaser of my property (and therefore a party to the initial contract) to legally implement the covenant.

Thus, the council is prepared to bring its full might and power down upon the enjoyment of three innocent children but not upon adults who have taken a particular and deliberate course of action to transgress and by-pass the law/rules. Why should it fall to an individual to take enforcement action that is surely a statutory duty of the local authority?

Further, customers of this business have taken to parking on the grass verges along the street, effectively parking on the footpath. I was told to take photographic evidence and send it either to Lincolnshire County Council or the police, as it was a highways matter.

This is , of course, entirely true and accurate information, but in these days of so-called “inter-agency partnership co-operation”, surely this displays a cavalier attitude towards residents’ amenity and well-being on the part of our district council.

Despite policy statements to the contrary, that I feel can now be contemptuously dismissed as mere self serving propaganda, these two examples show that equality and fairness to all are slipping further and further away from the agenda of the local council, preferring instead to, apparently, follow an action plan that reads “we will do what we want, when we want, if we want”.

Regrettably, it would appear that local government officers in Lincolnshire no longer see themselves as civil servants, but as public rulers.

Tony Bown

Whaplode St Catherine