Nervous wait for builder who may have to tear down his two Berkhamsted semis

Bank Mill homes in Berkhamsted.
Bank Mill homes in Berkhamsted.

A builder will have to wait for up to seven weeks to hear whether he has to pull down his two houses and evict the tenants living in them.

Philip Cowman’s appeal came before a Planning Inspectorate hearing at Hemel Hempstead Civic Centre yesterday.

Dacorum Borough Council’s development control committee ruled last summer that the two semi-detached homes he built in Bank Mill, Berkhamsted, should be demolished as they deviate from planning permission.

Mr Cowman, of Hempstead Lane, Potten End, had offered to make them fit in better with the area if they were allowed to stay. But this was turned down – against the advice of the authority’s own officers.

MSC Planning consultant Martin Crook, representing Mr Cowman, said: “The council has to justify that in planning terms and I would say that they have not.”

Berkhamsted Town Council says the semis should be rebuilt in the way that they had originally been planned – which permission had been granted for.

But councillor Tom Ritchie said maybe they could be redesigned without having to be totally demolished.

The Planning Inspectorate will decide within seven weeks whether they should stay or go.

Neighbours of the semis recently told this website that they should be allowed to stay.

Opposite them, 54 homes are in the process of being built in the New Lodge development.