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bierlijn

Hill 60 house, please register your opinion.

Hill 60 House Poll  

75 members have voted

  1. 1. What approach should Save Hill 60 group take?

    • Remove completely. The Province should buy the land and compensate the owners.
      46
    • The house should be remodelled and downnsized in accordance with local planning law
      19
    • The house has been built now and should be tolerated.
      10


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bierlijn

Dear Forum,

You may be aware of an attempt three years ago to stop a house being built in front of the Memorial to the 1st Australian Tunneling Company at Hill 60.

This case was referred to a court in Brussels for a final decision, but the court verdict was delivered after a delay of three years. The case was presented to this court in attempt to stop any building on an important pristine piece of war landscape, but with the case still in dispute and therefore at their own risk, the applicants erected the proposed house.

The court ruled that the building permit is invalid because there are specific regulations about the size and volume of any building on that particular plot and that the proposed house deviated significantly from these being too high, too great in volume and too close to the borders of the plot. As the building failed on all these tests, the court stated that it would not go on to consider the further argument about loss of public access to the visual link between the hill, memorial and the City of Ypres.

The defendant in the action at the High Court was the Province of West Flanders as they had confirmed the building permit as valid, albeit against the explicit advice of their own planning department. The Province has therefore called all parties to a hearing on 2nd April 2014 where they must reconsider the original appeals against the building. These were from Flemish Planning & Heritage agency, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the Save Hill 60 campaign and the Friends and Families of the First Australian Imperial Force (on behalf of the monument).

The Save Hill 60 group needs to take a position at the hearing but the matter is no longer as simple as stopping the disturbance of virgin soil. We need to decide whether or not to insist on the removal or substantial reduction in size of a house which has been inhabited for three years.

We would like to be steered in our approach by the aggregate opinion of the GWF members, and therefore I hope you will consider voting in the attached poll.

Many thanks,

Hugh

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keithmroberts

Not easy, and it seems that the house owner/builder was not completely at fault of the first tier authority gave an incorrect decision initially. I have voted, assuming that all three outcomes are actually practical.

Keith

EDIT I'll pin this to the top for a few days.

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Roger H

You say the applicants built at their own risk. They should now face the consequences and the building removed.

Roger

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Sepoy

Are there any photographs of the view before and after the building was constructed?

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keithmroberts

One other comment - we (Mods) are more than Hugh should seek opinions here, but the votes cast, do not make GWF policy. We are a forum, so the outcomes are just providing Hugh with a way to take soundings of the views of individuals who happen to use the GWF.

Keith

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Terry_Reeves

Perhaps the best way is for forum members who have an interest in this is to contact Hugh individually and in that way the GWF remains neutral.

TR

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bierlijn

Are there any photographs of the view before and after the building was constructed?

http://www.savehill60.org

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centurion

The above link does not appear to work properly but in any case I would have thought this was a Prima Facie Case of getting involved in modern politics and I am amazed at the mods letting it run as far as this. A link to an off forum site where one could express a view and vote would seem much better

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johnboy

As happens in Spain, if the owner was British it would come down. Sounds like a gamble by the owner that might just come off.

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keithmroberts

This is not politics. End of. Hugh's link works for me, using Firefox.

Keith Roberts

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towisuk

Hi Hugh, I don't think the owners of the property deserve any sympathy, not content with breaking the terms of the planning permission, they then set about erecting a fence to further destroy the view from Hill 60 towards Ypres.

How many times can someone kick you in the b***s before one has to take action to protect their own interests..??

regards

Tom

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John_Hartley

If, under Belgian law, "right to a view" is an appropriate reason to refuse planning permission, then I see no reason why Hugh's group shouldnt continue to make that case if it wishes. Planning applications can be tricky beasts.

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chrislock

Hi Hugh, I don't think the owners of the property deserve any sympathy, not content with breaking the terms of the planning permission, they then set about erecting a fence to further destroy the view from Hill 60 towards Ypres.

How many times can someone kick you in the b***s before one has to take action to protect their own interests..??

regards

Tom

Tom's post is confirmed. I have today walked past this house and the occupiers have erected a high hedge/wire fence surround which can only have been erected to remove the possibility of anyone looking across and through their garden but still a barrier which also on top of the house block, now removes any chance of seeing the view through their considerable garden area. I am impressed. NOT!!

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jtemple507

After reading the posts I have made my opinion for them to knock it down entirely. I thought at first that downsizing it would be fine, so long as the building did not harm the land of Hill 60, but that huge fence is an absolute no-no. Plus, they built it without the courts giving the go-ahead, and in my eyes that's practically breaking the law. Go ahead, Hugh, tell them to demolish it!

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Martin Bennitt

Unless mistaken, Hugh's website link doesn't answer Sepoy's question -- what does it look like now the house has been built? I can only find an image of the site before the construction.

Is the group in danger of pushing for the more radical option of demolition and ending up with nothing, or would it better to go for the compromise?

Cheers Martin B

Edited by MartinBennitt

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bierlijn

Thanks everyone, I'll close the poll now and take the result as a guide. The hearing about the house is on Wednesday.

The only option which may exist as an alternative to shaving 40% off the volume and height of the building and 50% off the smaller back building or purchase and complete removal, might be retrospectively changing the laws which have been infringed.Interested to see if that is proposed or indeed possible.

The old permit had no Green Plan, which would normally have been included in a building permit. This governs the maximum height of hedges, fences etc and would have been particularly appropriate in this setting, as Chris L. has mentioned.. This was also a concern stated in the objection lodged at the same time as ours by the Friends and Families of the First Australian Imperial Force. This surely must feature in any reissued permit

Edit

Completely failed to find any way to end the poll.

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keithmroberts

Hugh

I have exercised a moderator option which should lock the poll at 4.00pm UK time. It might also lock the topic, it isn't something I have tried before. If it does you will need a new topic to post information about the case. I am sure you will accept and if it arises make clear that the votes express only the views of individual members, as the GWF does not have "policy" in that sense. Your efforts are ones that I very much appreciate as an individual forum member.

Keith

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Roger H

Hugh

I think the only way is to lock the thread, which you can do as the originator.

Roger

Edit. Crossed with Keith's post

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