A COUNCILLOR is disappointed that Powys County Council (PCC) has upgraded housing stock in his ward without the required permissions.

Cllr Gareth Ratcliffe (Liberal Democrat – Hay) had constituents wanting him to complain officially about the work in Wyeside Gardens in Hay-on-Wye.

It has being done without planning permission from the Brecon Beacons National Authority.

They believe PCC’s planning department should have started enforcement action against the work which has now been applied for retrospectively.

Cllr Ratcliffe said: “Last year PCC started works on upgrading insulation and roofing on council houses.

“I was contacted by a privately owned house in the estate who had been approached by the council and the contractor to offer the same service to their house while the company was working in the area.

“They were informed that they would need planning from the Brecon Beacons National Parks (BBNP) before any work could take place.

“The resident contacted BBNP and it transpired that no application had been sorted for the council houses in PCC.”

Cllr Ratcliffe added “I am disappointed that PCC has not practised what they preach in a breach of planning using the example of spending around £60k to prosecute a resident and get back £750.”

Cllr Ratcliffe added that he hope PCC would have all the correct planning permission needed for future work by the authority.

The planning department has been defended by planning committee chairman Cllr Karl Lewis (Conservative – Llandinam), who believes the department is damned if they do (enforcement) and damned if they don’t.

Planning committee chairman, Cllr Karl Lewis, said: “I have been informed that the relevant department failed to recognise the different criteria that apply within the Powys and BBNP planning areas and are now in the process of working with BBNP Officers to regularise the situation. 

“I must however express my disappointment that you  comment upon the £60,000 spent on a recent enforcement case  (Mellowcroft).

“The local planning authority is in the difficult situation of getting condemned for taking enforcement action and criticised for not taking enforcement action.

“In my opinion councillors have to be aware of the impact of their comments on other councillors and importantly the constituents.”

Cllr Lewis added that he believed planning officers needed to be supported by councillors rather than making “ill informed comments” that can “undermine confidence” in the planning system.

A spokeswoman for Brecon Beacons Planning Authority said that there were no applications on Wyeside Gardens submitted with them at the moment.

A spokesman for Powys County Council, said: “The work did not require planning permission when carried out on properties where PCC was the planning authority.

“It was decided to proceed and only apply for retrospective application if there was an issue to save time.

“An application has been submitted but not yet completed.”