A much loved Ruddington hairdresser may be put out of business, and a single mum forced to leave her home, after Rushcliffe Borough Council (RBC) planners approved controversial new redevelopment proposals earlier than expected.
We reported last week that an application had been made to convert 25 and 25A Easthorpe Street back into two, purely residential properties. Unfortunately no one thought to tell current occupier, Jane Hallam of the ‘Hair Flair’ salon – who instead heard about it from her neighbour!
When RBC was made aware of her plight, it agreed to extend the window for public comments beyond the original Thursday August 15th deadline. It verbally told enquirers this new deadline would be Tuesday 27th August – although the revised date which appeared on its planning portal (right) indicated that the “Standard Consultation Expiry Date” would, in fact, be Saturday 14th September. Since RUDDINGTON.info raised awareness of these plans last week, almost fifty, further online objections have been submitted by local residents and Hair Flair customers, showing Jane their support.
Among those objecting were new Rushcliffe Borough Councillors Jen Walker and Mike Gaunt. However, they subsequently withdrew their objections when advised in a letter by RBC’s Service Manager for Communities, Andrew Pegram, that they were not valid, due to being on “non-planning grounds”. His letter stated that “…the potential impact of this proposal on the current tenant’s livelihood would not be a material consideration in the determination of the application. Regardless of this application, the landlord could terminate the tenancy.” Nevertheless, our two Ruddington Ward Labour Councillors have advised Mrs Hallam to get in touch with her landlord and pledged to support her to put an appeal together.
Jane’s daughter, Sarah Hallam, told us: “Because she has been in there for 25 years it was an ongoing lease that automatically renewed. However the landlord did send her a letter in January of this year to say he had no plans to sell the shop and offered her a 3 or 5 year lease. She wrote back straight away and asked for a 5 year lease because she plans on staying there long term – but she never heard anything back.”
Meantime RUDDINGTON.info was contacted on Thursday evening by the single mother who currently rents the flat above the salon at 25, Easthorpe Street with her young son. She revealed that she had not been advised of any proposal to redevelop her home, by either the landlord or RBC, and had only just heard about it by reading our news story! She was understandably upset (and has asked not to be named) but told us she worried what would happen next if these plans were approved.
Now, in another astonishing turn of events, it’s been revealed the application [19/01515/FUL] was actually put in front of the Rushcliffe Borough Council ‘Planning Team’ on Thursday (22nd August) which duly Granted Planning Permission – in spite of the previously promised extension. An “interpretation of dates” is being blamed for the misunderstanding.
The Delegated Report on the decision states that: “A total of 45 people (including the proprietor of the hairdressing salon) have objected to this application” – 42 of which were submitted after the original deadline and up until Wednesday 21st August. It seems five further objections made on the actual date of the planning meeting were not seen or taken into consideration. However, the report continues: “Whilst the loss of the salon business is regrettable, in the circumstances it is questionable as to whether, for the purposes of the policies in the development plan, it would qualify as a genuine community facility. Irrespective, Ruddington is already served by sufficient hairdressing salons and other facilities and therefore the loss of the existing salon at the application site is unlikely to be critical to this provision.”
It concludes that: “The proposed development would effectively see the re-instatement of the original residential uses in the building. The site is located in a sustainable location and, as such, the principle of residential development is considered to be acceptable. The proposed development would not cause harm to the character and appearance of Ruddington Conservation Area.”
Andrew Pegram confirmed to RUDDINGTON.info: “The application was permitted with conditions on August 22nd. As with all applications, the proposal was publicised outlining the details of the development, including in this instance by a site notice adjacent to the site, and the application appeared in the Nottingham Post.” He added: “We understand the concerns that can be raised when any application is received that can impact on existing tenants and we always encourage landlords in these circumstances to notify all relevant parties once an application has been submitted.”
Sarah Hallam told us: “Mum’s upset that the planning has been approved – but she hopes to appeal the decision. We’ve had some guidance from Ruddington’s Borough Councillors on the appeal process so, hopefully, that will be successful. Meantime, she doesn’t plan on closing any time soon. The landlord will have to give her at least six months notice for her to leave, and if she does end up having to go, she hopes to find somewhere else in Ruddington.”
RUDDINGTON.info has contacted applicant Mr J Cross directly, to see if he can shed any light on the implications of this planning approval for the current occupants of 25/25A Easthorpe Street. We are still awaiting his response.
Although it’s clear that the salon owner only found out about the possible loss of her premises very late on in the consultation process, and the tenant in the flat wasn’t notified at all, it seems RBC is not legally obliged to tell the occupants of a building that it is subject to a planning application – only the neighbouring properties.
It has also informed us that there is only a right of appeal to a decision by the applicant and none for third parties. Legal challenges from parties are possible but they’d need to seek to challenge a decision that errors in planning law have been made.
However, it is clear that inconsistent “Important Dates” were listed on RBC’s planning site. Whether this factor alone is sufficient grounds for appealing the verdict to the full RBC Planning Committee remains to be seen.