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House renovation: my next post will be from prison (council tax evasion)

August 20, 2010

So, we submitted our house plans to the council in April and they said ‘Thanks, that’ll take no more than 8 weeks.’

Apparently our plans have to go to committee. Fine, think we when they tell us they’re going to be reviewed in early July. 

Then we hear back that they’re ‘short staffed’ – more like on bloody holiday – and we’ll have to wait another month.  We remain calm and the case officer assures us that our plans have been written up for approval.

Then we’re told the plans are finally going to committee this week, August 17th, and she re-confirms they’ve been written up for approval.

Then on Monday this week our architects get a call saying they must make urgent amends to the plans (I can’t tell you the ludicrous changes yet, I’ll swear too much) before the committee meeting in 3 days time on Thursday. The council has had nearly 4 MONTHS to request these changes! 

But the architects duly drop everything and change their plans. They submit them ready for last night’s meeting.

We call up the council today to find out the outcome of the planning committee. ‘Oh, your plans were never scheduled for discussion last night.’ Well can we speak to our case officer about this then, we ask?

‘She’s on holiday.’ 

And as I write this, another extortionate monthly mortgage payment leaves our account to pay for a house we can’t live in due to the inefficencies of bloody tax-payer-paid council planners.

If they can’t do their job, why should we pay their salary with our council tax? As I say, next time I may be writing from my cell. And it’ll be luxury compared to our derelict house.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Chris permalink
    August 26, 2010 8:50 am

    Hi Emma,
    I notice you are still paying your council tax, even though you are not living in the property. Did you know you don’t have to pay council tax on an empty property for the 1st 6 months ? Please see the enclosed extract for CAB website:

    “Properties which may be exempt include:
    property which is empty. This means it has to be unoccupied. The property also has to be substantially unfurnished. The exemption applies for a maximum of six months and the property has to be vacant for the whole of this period (although up to six weeks of occupation during the period is allowed)”

    I definately think a building site counts as “Substantially unfurnished” It might be worth contacting your local council to check out this situation and ask for a refund…

    Hope this helps


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