Planning for our next business venture in Felixstowe Ferry
Why, in the 21st century and the amazing capabilities of the Internet, are some things so bloomin’ difficult to find out? Especially when they involve local councils?
Our current holiday accommodation is next to our Grade 2 Listed house, and in a conservation area; all our renovations to create our business were, to put it mildly, “a headache” when it comes to the rules we had to follow.
When we purchased our new project in Felixstowe Ferry we were keen not to have the same restraints which therefore lead to delays and additional costs.
Not listed… tick; not in a conservation area… tick.
But… It is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We were aware of this fact, although judging by the hots-potch of neighbouring buildings, and the conversations and renovations that have been allowed, I do not think they take this AONB that seriously.
However, we are good citizens and before we start our renovation planning, it is good to know what we can and cannot do.
This is where it gets a bit murky. Unlike conservation areas and listed buildings, there is zilch on the local council website as to what restrictions they may implement for any work in the AONB.
Everything we want to do would be permitted development and would not need any permissions normally, but we do not feel confident to plough on without some assurances.
But with nothing forthcoming from the council, we are only left with the option of paying hundreds of pounds and waiting many months for an appointment for a “pre-planning meeting” or going ahead…
… Unless, we ask our new neighbours for their first hand experiences.
The problem with this solution is that we have hardly met our neighbours since we purchased the property 7 months ago because we’ve not been able to visit much due to other projects, covid, the fact the heating doesn’t work so we can’t stay over… etc.
Everyone seems very nice and we have been added to the village whatsapp group so we could simply drop a message to them all. But what is judged as decorum? In terms of asking for advice from a group when you haven’t really contributed to it, when you are outsiders and will continue to be so, when you’re not actually going to be a neighbour but a business owner?
Maybe it’ll be better to just join the long waitlist to actually speak to someone at the council as they are incapable of putting a few guidelines online.
It’s a conundrum that I need to make a decision on soon.