Mr Gammon's Objections

Shepton Bassett Town Council


Dear Mr Gammon,

Re: Mr William Kierkergard, 47 Crown Terrace, Shepton Bassett

Following receipt of your letter of 14th July, the Council has now had an opportunity to consider your objections to the above. Objections to planning permission normally relate to buildings, specifically to alterations and changes of use, and not to individuals. Mr Kierkergard is not required to obtain planning permission simply in order to take up residence at the above property, and members of the public have no grounds to raise objections. Ordinarily, we would dismiss your concerns out of hand. However, it has been a slow day in the office and I have found myself at a loose end, therefore I have set out the Council's response to each of your objections below.

A: Objection: Mr Kierkergard "looked at you funny" last Tuesday morning, when he was putting out his bins.

In order to be upheld, an objection must relate to the rules and regulations as set out in the relevant legislation, chiefly the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. We have a big book in the office with all the rules in. It's a really, really big book, and the typeface is really, really small, so that you have to squint to read it. Well, I've read it and I can find no reference in there to people looking at you funny, so I'm afraid we must conclude that this is not a valid objection.

B: Mr Kierkergard's washing hanging on the line spoils your enjoyment of your property.

As I am sure you are aware, there are rules which prevent new developments from spoiling your enjoyment of your property. These normally relate to building works, which we are assuming Mr Kierkergard's washing is not. We have studied the photograph you sent us of your neighbour's sweater, and agree that it is indeed hideous, but unless Mr Kierkergard decides to affix his knitwear to the side of his house, or nail his trousers to the fence, his clothing cannot be considered permanent structures.

C: Mr Kierkergard's shoes are not in keeping with the area.

You correctly point out that Mr Kierkergard lives in the buffer zone of a world heritage site, which imposes certain restrictions on householders. For example, Mr Kierkergard would not be permitted to make substantial changes to the frontage of his property that were not in keeping with its original appearance.?

However, such restrictions do not apply to his choice of footwear. We sympathise that the particular shade of brown you describe is, in your words, 'offensively abhorrent', but we cannot insist that he exchanges them for a colour that more accurately matches the sandstone from which many local buildings have been constructed. Neither is it within our power to limit his movements such that he is only allowed out after dark. We would suggest that you avert your eyes should you pass him in the street.

D: Something smells funny.

Although you provided scant detail of what the 'something' was, and in what way it smelled 'funny', we are assuming that it refers to a further entry in your... one wishes to avoid the word 'vendetta'... your catalogue of concerns regarding Mr Kierkergard. This may be a matter for our colleagues in environmental health, but taking it at face value, can we request further details about this smell. Once we are able to successfully identify it, we will be in a position to determine whether Mr Kierkerguard has obtained planning permission for it.

E: Mr Kierkergard represents a significant fire risk.

We have carried out a brief but thorough investigation into Mr Kierkergard and have concluded that he is a gentleman in his early forties, is single and works for a local insurance broker. After consultation with experts within both the medical profession and the fire service, we have concluded that the risk of conflagration posed by Mr Kierkergard is negligible. We are assured that forty-year-old insurance brokers hardly ever spontaneously combust, and the chief fire officer tells us that on the extremely rare occasions that this happens, they usually burn themselves out quickly, causing minimal damage to their surroundings.

F: Mr Kierkergard's layout is likely to increase the risk of flooding.

Now this is one that has got us really scratching our heads. It was with great interest that we studied the detailed plans of Mr Kierkergard that you sent us. We have never seen these plans before, but they seem to have been professionally draughted. We are certainly more used to seeing plans like this for a building rather than a person, and we are concerned that the depiction of Mr Kierkergard's 'front elevation' goes into a level of detail that might easily be construed as a gross invasion of the man's privacy.

However, with regard to the issue of flooding, you draw our attention to the illustration of Mr Kierkergard's 'foundations' and claim that these would inevitably cause 'widespread devastation' if he were to stand in a puddle. We feel very strongly that the drains throughout the borough would be able to cope in such an eventuality, although the volume of rainfall is an important factor. After due consideration, we have decided that inundation, whilst not impossible, is unlikely and we are happy to take the risk.

G: Mr Kierkergard hasn't shaved for several days, giving rise to reasonable suspicion that he may be growing a beard.

As I am sure you are aware, applications to grow a beard come under the Facial Hair Cultivation and Care Regulations (Updated) 2008. I have spoken to my colleagues in the Facial Hair Planning Team, and they inform me that Mr Kierkergard has not made an application for the erection of facial hair. However, permission is not required unless the growth exceeds three inches at its longest extent, this distance being measured from the surface of the skin to the tip of the longest bristle. In such circumstances, a full review would be ordered to consider the potential impact on local wildlife, pollution levels and air traffic.

Nah, I'm pulling your leg. We don't have a facial hair planning team - it was disbanded in 2014.

H: Mr Kierkergard spoils your view of the local Tesco Metro.

We have several points to make on this score. Firstly, it is not uncommon for a new development to obstruct an individual's enjoyment of a scenic view or a point of particular interest, and we do take this into consideration. In this case, we understand that the Tesco Metro to which you refer is a purpose-built unit, erected in 2017, and whilst it is no doubt of an elegant and practical design, we cannot accept that it is either historically or aesthetically noteworthy.

Secondly, in order for Mr Kierkergard to obstruct your view, he must either remain stationery in your line of view at all times - which is unlikely - or you are following him around. After making a number of enquiries we have learned that this latter explanation is indeed the case. We are told that Mr Kierkergard has made a number of complaints in connection with you following him, taunting him and generally harassing him. Indeed, the objections you have raised with us would seem to form part of this ongoing campaign of terror. We have made the police aware of your complaints and will refrain from commenting further on this matter until their investigation has been concluded.

I hope the responses above have satisfactorily answered the points you have made, but if you would like to discuss these issues further, please do not hesitate to get in touch. In the meantime, may I take the liberty of advising you that the Council can only consider valid objections as permitted by relevant legislation and bylaws. Protesting on the ground that you personally don't like something rarely ever forms the basis of a legitimate objection, and writing entirely in capitals, enclosing a fiver and getting all your friends to do the same does not increase the likelihood of it being upheld.

Yours Sincerely

G Murphy

Assistant Director Strategic Planning.


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