Guildford developer ‘able to run roughshod over everything’ in two-year planning battle, claims neighbour

November 8, 2018
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A Guildford resident has endured more than two years of building work next door as a developer “played the system” to circumvent planning conditions.

Simon West, of Artillery Road, said it was “incredible” that Osman Abdullah had been able to get retrospective planning permission after building a house in neighbouring George Road larger than the one the council had originally approved.

Mr West claimed Mr Abdullah had presented the council and neighbours with a “fait accompli” and said “the only deterrent to people breaking planning conditions is if they have got to demolish it.

“Otherwise what’s the point?”

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After having two plans rejected, Mr Abdullah finally gained permission to replace two garages in George Road with a one-storey house in 2013.

However, construction did not begin until January 2016 – without notice, Mr West said – and a year later, Mr West claims, it became apparent the building was larger than permitted and, a planning officer would subsequently write, “of a similar scale and height” to one of the rejected schemes.

Nevertheless, after an unsuccessful application for retrospective planning permission, Mr Abdullah, who owns several properties in the town, managed to get the larger building approved with some minor changes.

Simon West’s back garden during the building work. Mr West said the long-running construction project had caused “great inconvenience” to neighbours.
(Image: Surrey Advertiser)

Mr West claimed the approval of the new building “sends a clear signal that planning conditions can be ignored.”

He also claimed Mr Abdullah had treated him and other residents with “contempt” and “caused great inconvenience to the local community” including “dug up pavements” and “significant pain spillages on road and pavement”, but that the cost of mounting any legal challenge were prohibitive.

A council spokesman said a planning breach had been identified at the site after an investigation, but it was “resolved through the submission of a retrospective planning application.”

The spokesman added: “The use of retrospective applications allows the regularisation of breaches of planning control where no planning harm is identified and is specifically allowed under planning legislation, which does not include any provision for punitive measures such as fixed penalties.”

Local councillor Caroline Reeves, who had been in contact with Mr West regarding the development, said the development was “unfortunate” but that Mr Abdullah, chief executive of a security company, had “played the system”.

She said: “The complaint is with the system, which doesn’t really help neighbours. It works in favour of developers.”

She added: “That property is going to be so closely monitored, he [Mr Abdullah] is going to have to be very careful.”

Mr Abdullah, who lives in a house in Cobham worth an estimated £1.8 million, declined to comment.

Article source: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/guildford-developer-able-run-roughshod-15371929


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