Saturday, September 30, 2023

Quirke told not to shirk as application for windows in garage branded “a joke”.

PLANNING councillors have come to the aid of residents who complained their privacy was being invaded by an unauthorised home extension reports the Thurrock Enquirer.

At last week’s meeting of Thurrock Council’s planning committee a bid by applicant Jim Quirke to install windows into a garage conversion was rejected – and the application described as “a joke with a capital J.”

Mr Quirke has planning permission for a garage extension at his home at 4, Longley Mews, Grays, but has instead put in windows into his new build which councillors slammed as a clear breach of planning permission and an attempt to get round planning rules.

The meeting heard from neighbour David Royden, whose home in Badgers Mount is overlooked by the garage.

He described how Mr Quirke had cut down trees between the two properties and the new garage was then built in breach of rules while planning officers ignored his complaints and those of other neighbours.

He said: “Our plea is our right to privacy. We believe there has been no consideration to our privacy, which is being compromised.

”Before this all started we had complete privacy. We came home one day to find that the trees between us had been cut down without any consultation with us,

“To our amazement we then found building work had started which shocked us.

“We feel disappointed we haven’t received any words from the planning office.

“Had we done so we would have strongly objected. It was only after persistent calls that someone came round to view our property.”

Cllr Richard Speight asked if Mr Royden felt the fixed windows and obscured glazing might be acceptable but was told: “This person put this in without planning permission we have lost faith with him.”

Mr Royden received support from ward councillor Tony Fish who said: “My reason for being here is to support the objectors from Badgers Mount. It really quite an imposing, overlooking structure that has caused a great deal of upset.

“It appears the enforcement procedure has not been followed, this could have been stopped but the building has continued and this has become more imposing.

Planning officer Catherine Blow told the meeting that Mr Quirke planned to use fixed windows that had obscured glazing and the room they brought light to would only be used for storage, but that suggestion was ridiculed by councillors.

Cllr Phil Anderson said: “This whole thing seems like a complete joke to me. Everyone seems to agree having these windows causes harm in planning terms and that is what we have to do.

“The idea of our planning officers nipping round there once a week to see if anyone is sleeping there is totally unworkable and a waste of resources.

“Stick the tiles that were on the original permission over the windows. We should refuse this and revert to the original permission which seems perfectly reasonable.”

That view was echoed by committee chair Cllr Terry Hipsey who proposed rejection of the application, despite a recommendation to approve by planning officers.

He added: “I think it’s an absolute joke with a capital J” and his colleagues appeared to agree as they unanimously rejected the application which means that enforcement action will be taken against Mr Quirke if he does not revert to the original plan.


  1. It is quite evident that the enforcement officer at Thurrock Council is the culprit here, I have seen sleeping enforcement officers before but it looks like this one is in a Tier 1 coma, surely there is a process to discipline this officer for neglect of duty and the waste of public money, involved in letting this situation go so far is ridiculous and the officer involved should be held totally accountable considering the track record up to date with Thurrock Councils enforcement Department


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