4 August 2006

Disaster strikes

[Wrote this post yesterday but wasn't able to publish until today it due to internet connection problems]

Today dawned sunny and bright with not a cloud in the sky. We were excited to build the log cabin and Grant phoned into work to let them know he wouldn't be in (he was on standby to take leave when the weather cleared). As we brought out the first log to begin treating it our neighbour put his head over the fence and said that he was concerned about the height of the log cabin and the position of it and was worried it would block sun to his garden in the winter. We got out the tape measure, checked the height, felt confident it wouldn't make a difference to his garden. He still wasn't happy, but Grant said to him that it was a bit late in the day to suddenly object when we have been very clear to them about our plans right from the beginning, which was about 6 weeks ago!

We came inside to double-check regulation information. With the information we had already researched we had been quite confident that a log cabin would not need planning permission and that we were within our rights to build it where we had planned to. Grant phoned the council to double check and that's when he hit an obstacle ... if it were only the log cabin going in it is true we would not need planning permission, but because our property already has an existing garage and kitchen extension, that takes us over the cibic metre limit allowed for our property (you are allowed to build 70 cubic metres without planning permission) ... so we now do require planning permission for the log cabin. This includes the council giving the neighbours 21 days to lodge an objection. They did reassure us that a neighbour complaining that it would block their light would more than likely not be enough to cause our planning permission to be denied; however the whole process will take 6-8 weeks and of course we can't count on the outcome! I'm sure you can imagine how horrified we are.

With the 6-8 week delay, even if the permission is passed with no problem, that will take us into autumn and poor weather, which is exactly what we need to avoid. And in the meantime, we can't use our garage at all - it's impossible to even get to the back of it where some tools and supplies that we will need sooner or later are stored.

Grant was outside leaving to get some goodies from the DIY store to continue with the bathroom when the neighbour came to him and told him that they'd lodged a formal complaint with the council and that an inspector would be visiting us.

It has all been handled quite civilly and at the end of the day we don't blame the neighbours, and it's our own fault that we're in this position ... but how gutted and stressed out and just plain sick we feel. This has been such a blow. I am now having to hire a photography studio to take care of the clients who are wanting to book with me - I have got to get back to earning money and it just won't work to conduct the sessions within our home. This means that I am having to fork out money each time and it poses logistical problems with co-ordinating when I am available, when my clients are available and when the studio is available to be able to book sessions - preferably as many in one day as possible rather than spreading them out. What a nightmare.

In the meantime, Grant has finished stripping our bathroom of tiles, mirrors and plaster and is about to start drywalling. We were going to hire a plasterer to skim the walls, but our other neighbour said, "Why don't you just put up plasterboard?" - the man is a genius! (Or else we are just slow). So that is saving us a lot of money, thankfully. Here's how the bathroom looks today:

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