Householders facing council legal action

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ANGUS Council is to take legal action to force several Friockheim householders to restore a two metre strip between their properties and Lunan Water.

A total of six homes at Old Mill Place, Friockheim, have added decking and similar structures without requesting permission from the local authority.

And the council says this is in direct breach of the legal agreement put in place when permission was granted to build the homes on the site of the former Douglas Fraser & Sons factory.

On Tuesday, the council’s development standards committee agreed to start legal proceedings as conditions were put in place to keep the two metre strip free to minimise the flooding risk.

In a report to the committee, director of infrastructure services Eric Lowson said: “Planning permissions have previously been granted subject to conditions and a legal agreement that seek to control development adjacent to the Lunan Water in the interests of avoiding increased flood risk.

“Works have now been undertaken that encroach into the two metre wide access strip. “Advice from relevant expert bodies suggests that these works present an increased flood risk in the area.

“On this basis it is considered that there is a clear public interest in pursuing action to rectify this situation.

“The development that has been undertaken is in clear breach of the legal agreement.

“It is considered appropriate to pursue legal action and raise an Action of Specific Implement in the Sheriff Court in order to enforce the terms of the legal agreement.”

In September, 2011, Angus Council’s planning and transport division received an enquiry regarding decking and a summerhouse erected at one of the properties.

On subsequent visits to the properties it was noted that decking and other structures had been erected without permission.

Following these visits, consultation was made with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the local authority’s roads division in its capacity as a flood prevention authority.

Both agreed that the decking and structures could significantly affect the flooding potential of Lunan Water and lead to unforeseen problems with all homes in the area.

Mr Lowson added: “There is a risk that if the council is unsuccessful in its legal action it may be required to meet the respondents costs in defending any such action.

“However survey work undertaken confirms that the decking and other structures are located within the two metre wide strip and this is in clear breach of the terms of the legal agreement.

“Accordingly it is considered that there is a reasonable prospect that legal action will be successful.”