Brent say 'No' to planning application that will reduce emissions by 91%.

I am writing to you to let you know about a Planning application that is being recommended for refusal by Brent's Planning department.

The proposed works to the house will reduce the amount of energy required to heat the house by over 90%. This is achieved by insulating the outside walls, floor and roof, replacing and overhauling the windows and making sure the building fabric is completely draught free. We live in Mapesbury Conservation area and are aware of the interests of the conservation officer and local conservation residents group and share their views towards preserving the character of the local area, so we have proposed to make no alterations whatsoever to the front of the house that would affect the streetscene or the wider conservation area. With regard to the back of the house, we are not overlooked by anyone.

This post is intended to both inform you of what we are trying to do and to notify you of the problems we have faced within the planning and conservation team. We do not feel that these issues have been fairly discussed or even understood by your planning officers who seem misguided in their lack of interest in environmental matters and in their somewhat obsessive interest in protecting the rear and side elevations of a perfectly ordinary house from energy efficiency improvements. Our proposed insulation improvements are almost entirely invisible from the public highway and so this is a house that is ideally suited to advanced energy efficiency improvements.

With the help of some more vigilant Councillors we managed to save the application from getting a straight refusal behind closed doors and it will now be discussed at committee in July - no date set yet. There is also another application that is wanting to do the same thing in Brent that will be heard on the same night.

There is a debate that needs to happen around this issue and the Planning department are absolutely not having it. Brent have said that 60% of their emissions come from their housing stock and on page one of a document outlining their "sustainability achievements" the first line is, "One of the councils priorities in it's corporate strategy (2006-2010) is to make Brent an exemplar of environmental practice and performance on sustainable issues". If people like us are not encouraged to do what we are doing then what hope is there?

If you feel strongly about the ethos of this application then please email the council now and them know that the environment matters. The email address to write to is tps@brent.gov.uk. Our application number is 10/0868.

Thanks for reading.

Monty and Landi

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