St Ives development complaint: 'Cornwall Council told me to use net curtains'
A ST IVES man objecting to the building of a balcony that will look straight into the bedroom of his listed home says Cornwall Council have told him: "Use net curtains!"
Jonathan Thomas owns Moonfleet Cottage on St Eia Street in the pretty Downalong area of St Ives – a listed cottage in the middle of a conservation area.
When he heard one of his neighbours was to renovate their cottage he thought it would improve the neighbourhood.
Mr Thomas said: "But then the bombshell … a balcony is to be constructed less than five metres away looking directly into my bedroom window."
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When he complained to Cornwall Council he said they told him that people in areas like Downalong had to accept being overlooked – and should use net curtains.
Planning officers said existing steps used to enter his neighbour's property set a precedent for "overlooking" and that people in other houses – and in the street – could also see in.
A letter from Cornwall Council planning department said: "As you will appreciate the character of St Ives is of traditional two and three-storey dwellings situated in close proximity to each other with mutual overlooking.
"Under these circumstances residents clearly have to accept a certain degree of loss of privacy, and in many locations adopt solutions such as the use of net curtains to reduce the problem."
Mr Thomas – who DOES have net curtains – said: "This is the first time I have heard that a planning application was granted because the neighbours had net curtains so wouldn't be affected by the intrusion and noise."
Mr Thomas has written to the Government's planning ombudsman and says he is awaiting a reply.
He said: "A balcony is totally out of keeping with the listed building status of the property according to the local town council. [Cornwall] Council have admitted that my property will be affected and they have admitted not contacting me but they do not acknowledge that there has been any breach in their procedure."
A Cornwall Council spokesperson said that while next door neighbours of the property had been contacted, Mr Thomas had not received a letter about the application "as [his] property does not abut the application site".
"There were notices displayed near the site, the application was advertised on our website, and was advertised in the local press. We therefore more than complied with statutory requirements and procedures.
"Planning applications will not be refused consent solely where objections are received if it is considered there is no sustainable planning reason why permission should be denied."