Village anger as Collyweston homes get roof tiles from Spain

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VILLAGERS are annoyed a council has allowed a developer to use blue roof tiles on two homes in Collyweston – the home of traditional roof slate.

Collyweston Parish Council hopes to meet planners from East Northamptonshire District Council following the decision to allow the blue roof tiles - imported from Spain – rather than mock Collyweston slate.

Residents have complained that the homes in Main Road are out of keeping with the village conservation area and fear they will set a precedent for future developments.

The parish council had called for the decision to be reversed but the district council is sticking to its guns.

The district’s senior conservation officer Lloyd Mills said: “National guidance advises that we should not be employing artificial building products in historic areas and instead we should be using natural, traditional materials, as is the case here.

“While natural Collyweston stone would be the most appropriate roof covering in this area, there are very limited supplies of this material and these should be retained for the repair of historic buildings.”

The planning application for the two homes was submitted in 2007 by GP Construction, which is based in Bourne Road, Langtoft.

The application stated that mock Collyweston slate would be used but that was rejected by planners as the houses were deemed visually obtrusive and having an unacceptable overbearing impact on the nearby houses.

But permission was granted on appeal in August 2008 and the district council approved the use of Spanish blue tiles instead.

East Northants chief executive David Oliver added: “It would not be appropriate to reverse this decision on the basis that agreement was reached following full consideration of the issues by the council. Indeed any attempt to do so would be likely to result in a judicial review for an unreasonable decision on the part of this council.”

Parish council chairman Shelagh Busby said: “We see this example as a change of policy, from use of an artificial roofing material that looks very like Collyweston slate, to use of a so-called “natural” material that looks completely wrong in this setting.”

The parish council is going to invite planners from the district council to a public meeting to explain its policies. A date for the meeting is still to be decided.

Collyweston Parish Council now hopes to meet the planners to address the “apparent lack of consistent planning policies” which are used when considering plans for the village.

Mrs Busby said: “The district council’s response shows the planners have no idea about the consequences of this decision for the future protection of the conservation area. We’re concerned that it sets a precedent for the future which will erode the design features that make Collyweston so special.”

Despite several attempts from the Mercury to contact the developer GP Construction, no-one was available to comment.