After all the problems we had with aerials and neighbours at our last address, I had hoped for better things here. It seems this may not be the case. Neighbours! Damn neighbours!
After already being granted verbal permission to erect the 9.2
antenna, our new local housing association planning department telephoned me yesterday to
halt today's installation of my 9.2, on the grounds that my
temporary FM5 antenna had fallen into a neighbour's garden. Let me assure you it most certainly had not. The neighbour in question has a small row of very tall conifer trees which would not allow such a thing to happen. These are actually higher than my FM5. Maybe I should complain that the same conifers have spread several feet into our garden. So much so, in fact, that there is no room for me to rotate my FM5 aerial easily where it is. Even the planning officer wondered if this was a slight exaggeration on the part of the neighbour if she was only concerned that the FM5 might fall into
her garden. That's not how the complaint was received, however. Either way, it couldn't possibly have fallen anywhere as it was pressed firmly against the bungalow wall by the trees.
This neighbour has always seemed friendly, and even spoke to us this morning, but she obviously did not wish to confront us face to face about this matter.
So, our new planning officer said I would now have to go
via East Lindsey District Council's Planning Department
and obtain written permission to have my 9.2 erected,
which he doubted they would approve. This would cost me
£72. It actually costs around £400 should it need
to go to the Public Notice stage, after which they could still refuse permission and not have to refund the
fee, but such planning applications would usually be necessary only for larger structures, such as tall lattice towers, etc. I am really surprised to be referred to the local council.
The new planning officer also decided that he needed to check whether there might be a local covenant which restricts aerials at the new property. Personally, I would very much doubt this to be the case as many of the bungalows around here have unusually large masts for their television aerials, some as high as 20 feet above the rooftops. I would consider it very unfair if I were refused, so I hope common sense wins in the end.
After his visit, I telephoned ELDC and described the nature of my request, giving the physical size of the 9.2 antenna, including details about the rotator, etc., and the officer there said this was not an 'unusual' request and was classed as a "De Minimis" issue and so would not need written permission. I had not heard of this
expression before, but it basically means that this is a simple domestic matter which does not require full planning permission. Phew! The officer referred me back to the local housing officer, who is now due to visit us later today as a result and will either
grant or refuse permission for my 9.2 and the rotator, based
on how he sees it.
If permission is
refused then I am not even allowed to have a free-standing
FM aerial. If this happens then I will need to take the matter further as I cannot see that it is reasonable for the planning department to disallow something as simple as an FM radio antenna, though I wonder if I may have to scale things down and use something like an FM3.