A neighbour arrived just after dinner tonight. She was carrying a petition she wanted us to sign asking that planning permission be denied for a residential property backing on to them to be converted into a dentist’s surgery.
When we bought this piece of land. the developers put all sorts of covenants on the sale that dictated what we could and could not do with it. It covered things like the style of property, the type and height of fencing, what could or could not be parked on the property… and where… and whether or not a business could be run from the property, which effectively meant ‘not’.
After most most building was complete, the developers handed the estate to the council for ongoing maintenance. This, we learned afterwards, meant that all existing covenants become ‘extinct’ and so some people have opened up small businesses around us. Ok they are mostly *really* small like accountants, hairdressers and the like. However we have a pre-school diagonally opposite us which covers *two* plots. Further up that road a doctor has opened up a surgery… and now this dentist is trying to move in as well. This does sort of undermine the rationale for a lot of us moving to a residential area since avoiding traffic was a primary concern and these businesses attract more traffic than almost any normal number of residents in the house would have.
For the neighbour there is even more of a concern. To form a car park it’s entirely possible the new owners will concrete over the entire back yard to create parking which will create noise and mess. In addition almost inevitable the premises will be regularly burgled by people in search of cash/drugs and/or syringes… it happens repeatedly to other such premises. If they *are* burgled… what sort of escape route will the crims take? Over the neighbours back fence in all probability.
So we signed the petition.
Signing it was one thing… but I felt I had to let her know she had not the slightest chance of stopping the development if the owner wanted to go ahead. We had a similar issue when the pre-school was built and despite having the entire neighbourhood complaining on all sorts of ground from the ‘covenants’ on the land, to the general safety of residents *and* the children using the premises… it went ahead. Likewise the hairdressers whose customers park on a bend making it dangerous to navigate, especially if a bus is coming around at the same time you do. Likewise the doctors surgery. It went ahead because the local councils have no real power to stop any reasonable request for such a development proposal. No doubt the petition will go into the council… but it will almost certainly be ignored.
Apart from any other consideration, there is a chronic shortage of dentists in the area. Even the one we go to which we’ve ‘patronised’ since they opened still makes us wait three months for any treatment short of an emergency! I can’t see the local council being either willing or able to let it be said they refused to allow another dentist to open.