Council takes enforcement action in Hartlepool car smash door row

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Council chiefs are locked in a row with a training firm which replaced its office door after it was smashed into by a car.

Council bosses have taken enforcement action over a replacement door installed by the training service in Hartlepool’s Scarborough Street after its previous one was destroyed.

Now Hartlepool Borough Council has ordered Evolution Training to restore traditional features of its previous door after having a retrospective planning application rejected for the replacement.

The planning committee objected to the new door stating it was ‘out of character’ with the Church Street Conservation Area where it is located.

The company is appealing the decision, citing other examples of similar doors in the area and disputing it is ‘out of character’ with the area.

The previous door was smashed by a car in February this year and a uPVC replacement was installed.

The company is now hoping the appeal will be successful and it will not have to make changes to the current door.

Joan Chapman, general manager at Evolution Training, said: “The council did issue us with an enforcement notice and I’ve now put in an appeal so we’re currently waiting for the outcome of the appeal.

“We appealed on a number of grounds, the main one being that other buildings in the street and the area have the same type of door and uPVC that we’ve used, and I supplied a number of photographs to support the claim.”

She had previously said the replacement door was ‘more substantial, safer, more secure for staff’ and ‘looked nicer’ than the previous door.

The former timber door to the property had been replaced with a composite dark blue door with a white uPVC frame.

The window above the door has been replaced with white uPVC cladding and timber boarding placed to the side of the frame, while decorative details have been removed.

The planning committee unanimously rejected the retrospective proposals at its meeting in September, with councillors and officers branding the replacement door ‘crude’ and ‘out of keeping’ with the area.

Councillors added ‘each application must be taken individually’.

Hartlepool Civic Society had also objected to the plans, stating the replacement door should reflect the original, a wooden door with a window above.

Action has now been taken by the council in a bid to restore features of the original door ‘removed without planning permission’.

A council spokesman said: “Following planning committee’s decision to refuse the retrospective planning application, authorisation was granted to allow officers to take enforcement action.

“An enforcement notice has been served requiring remedial works to reinstate the traditional features that were removed without planning permission within 3 months, although the owners of the building have the right to appeal the enforcement notice with the Planning Inspectorate.”

The Planning Inspectorate is an executive agency of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government with responsibility to make decisions and provide recommendations and advice on a range of planning-related issues across England and Wales.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service