Peel commissioners have accused the government planning department of arrogance over an issue involving Heritage Homes.
Despite the developer admitting breaching regulations by removing a sod hedge without permission, the department judged there was ‘minimal visual impact’ so no action would be taken.
Commissioner Ian Davison said: ‘If it was you or me, we’d be in court, the fine is around £5,000. It’s a case of one rule for them another for us.
‘For the planning department to allow Heritage to just remove it is disgusting. It’s as if they’re saying it’s award-winning builders Heritage Homes so it’s OK.’
Commissioner Alan Jones said: ‘I find it very arrogant – they’ve accepted it was a breach but won’t do anything about it. It clearly has an impact on the amenity of the town. The decision not to review this is wrong. Can we just make our own rules if someone’s fence is too high now?’
Chairman of the commissioners, Ray Harmer, said: ‘We need to make this public. It’s basically saying if Heritage Homes break planning regulations we’ll do nothing about it.’
The work took place at Reayrt ny Cronk in Peel, opposite the end of Ballaquane Road.
Heritage Homes had a planning application approved for the area, which did not include the removal of the hedge.It was removed, however, and a fence put in its place.
The commissioners sent a letter of complaint to the planning department but were dismayed with the response from director of planning Michael Gallagher, who said that ‘the breach was not considered sufficiently harmful as to warrant any further action’.
In his letter to the commissioners, Mr Gallagher said: ‘As a result of the planning enforcement investigation the department did conclude that a breach of planning control had taken place.’ He then went on to say that no action would be taken against Heritage Homes.
Mr Gallager said in response to the commissioners’ comments: ‘The department fully investigated the alleged breach of planning and has twice written to the commissioners to explain the basis for its decision to take no further action.’
A spokesperson for Heritage Homes said: ‘As the section of poor quality hedge provided no privacy or security it was completely inappropriate as a boundary. We therefore replaced it with a timber fence. Over 10 years we have provided almost 700 high quality homes to about 1,700 residents. If the replacement of a small hedge is the only thing the commissioners have found to comment on in these 10 years, we must be doing a very good job.’