Bungalow bust-up

Coun Joyce

Coun Joyce

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One of Chorley’s most senior politicians is at the centre of a planning wrangle over attempts to build a bungalow in the grounds of his exclusive £500,000 property.

Kevin Joyce is Executive Member (Transformation) on Chorley Council, and his planning agent believes he’s been penalised because he’s a councillor.

Coun Joyce, who represents Eccleston and Mawdesley, wants to build a detached bungalow in the grounds of his sprawling property in Runshaw Lane, Euxton. Mr Joyce has 0.9 acres of land at the back of his large bungalow, and wants to build on a third of it.

However, it has already been rejected twice, and now he has appealed the decision, so it will be decided by an independent inspector.

Mr Joyce, who has been a councillor since 2007, said: “It’s important that councillors do not get treated any differently to the public and that the public is aware of it. I’m happy that the council made its decision, although I do not agree with it.”

He has instructed his planning agents Peter E Gilkes & Co to appeal the decision.

Mr Gilkes said: “I believe in this instance, it is a case where being a local councillor has worked against my client, and if he was not a senior member, then the council officers and members of the council may well have felt more comfortable and ready to accept the points put forward in our submission in support of the application.”

The application was first submitted in August 2010, but was rejected on highways grounds, because access would have been off the busy Dawber’s Lane,

It was also turned down because it is situated on greenbelt land, and the application contravened current guidelines on infill development.

A revised application was filed, and although it addressed the highway concerns, the planners felt it was still at odds with the rules over infill development.

Mr Gilkes said other applications in the immediate vicinity have received plannning consent,

The chartered surveyor added: “We have recently received consent for another bungalow-style two-storey residence, and indeed there have been many permissions granted for small bungalows to be replaced with large two-storey residences.

“The appeal is currently in the process of being compiled, and will include several examples where planning consent has been granted under the ‘infill’ policy, and in many cases where they are within smaller groupings of properties.”

Martin Birchall lives opposite Mr Joyce’s house, and recently had a planning application to turn his garage into a detached three-bedroom property rejected on highways grounds.

Lesley-Ann Fenton, Chorley Council’s Director of Partnerships, Planning and Policy, said: “If we receive an application from a councillor, then it has to be considered by the development control committee to ensure our decision-making is transparent.

“Coun Joyce’s application was considered solely on planning grounds, and refused by the committee. Like any other resident, he has the option to appeal if he doesn’t agree with the decision.”