Red tape gives red light to charity do

PUBLISHED: 15:46 21 June 2007 | UPDATED: 21:43 29 May 2010

Alan Goldsmith on his land - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Alan Goldsmith on his land - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

DELAYS in obtaining planning permission for a charity concert has seen the organiser reluctantly pull the plug on the one-day event. Uttlesford District councillors decided to overturn their planning officers recommendation to refuse permission for the P

DELAYS in obtaining planning permission for a charity concert has seen the organiser reluctantly pull the plug on the one-day event.

Uttlesford District councillors decided to overturn their planning officers' recommendation to refuse permission for the Presley Picnic when they held a site visit.

The event, due to have been held on Saturday August 25 would have raised £20,000 for the Helen Rollason Heal Cancer charity.

But despite ploughing £2000 of his own money into the concert in planning costs alone, organiser

Alan Goldsmith said it was just too late to organise such a large-scale fund-raiser.

Councillors decided a site visit was necessary in light of the area being poorly served by public transport.

A delegation of councillors and officers arrived by minibus to make a site visit of the area and to discuss the officers' refusal of the planning application on the grounds of the adverse effect on the appearance of the countryside, noise and disturbance to local residents, highway safety and sustainability.

Alan Goldsmith, owner of Little Bardfield Hall, where the concert would have been staged, said: "It was a big fiasco, really.

"They arrived at the site and discussed things for an hour and then decided to overturn the officer's recommendation for refusal. This has taken ages. The original planning application went in at the beginning of March."

A UDC spokesman said: "Councillors were concerned about event operating hours, parking and stewarding arrangements and the need to restrict the types of uses to be for local events rather than commercial ones. They requested conditions to address these issues."

Wednesday's Development Control Committee approved the application for 12 events to be held each year, subject to conditions to be drafted by officers to address the concerns expressed above.

These conditions will be considered by the development control committee at its next meeting on July 4. The report will be available five days before that meeting.

"I'm so annoyed about this. It's cost me well over £2000 in planning fees and all of the rest of it," said Mr Goldsmith. "One of the reasons for the officer's original refusal of the planning permission was that it all fell in to the curtilage of a listed building. They arrived at the site and suddenly decided that it no longer fell into that area."

If land is within the curtilage of a listed building then planning permission is required to hold the events.

However, on this issue, the UDC spokesman refuted Mr Goldsmith's claims saying: "Officers consider the land is inside the curtilage. Had the committee refused permission, submitting a further application for a certificate of lawful use and development to establish whether the land is within the curtilage or not would have been an option for the applicant.

If outside the curtilage then up to 14 events can be held in any calendar year without the need for planning permission and the applicant could have gone ahead.

He has not been told that the land is outside the curtilage.

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