Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Planning Rules Defy Common Sense

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Planning Rules Defy Common Sense

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID BANKS

IT'S great to be green, but have we really got the hang of this energy saving malarkey? I do sometimes think that we're heating the house and leaving the doors and windows wide open Take my friend Susan the Luddite: not a word about solar alternatives or insulation, but the planners insist that her bathroom extension can only have a hand basin the size of a shaving mug in order to allow access for wheelchairs.

Her solution? Get the work signed off then replace the shaving mug with a cattle trough.

Furthermore, despite the fact that her loo has a perfectly openable window, she is ordered to install a light cord-activated extractor fan which will automatically run for 20 minutes after each use. Solution? Remove the extractor fuse, open a window. The piece de resistance is the instruction to fit her water closet with a fireproof door, the only one in the house.

Ah! Now I see it all: when fire breaks out she should refit the extractor fuse, sit knee-deep in a sinkful of water and keep the fire door tightly closed.

You're never in danger in the nettie.

I DON'T know who's getting hotter under the collar: me, sitting in the surgery watching the blood pressure monitor crank itself up to strangulation point, or Sister Elliott, working herself into a sweat over the latest regulation to hit farmers like her husband.

"Ridiculous!" she mutters. "Putting microchips into the ear tags of every sheep in Britain. What'll that cost the poor farmer?" (Did I mention that her husband was one?) "And," she continues, "What will they do with them when the sheep are slaughtered?" She has a point: there are 19 million sheep in Britain's national flock, half of which go to the butcher before they're a year old.

"What a ridiculous waste of time and money!" Hell hath no fury like a farmer's wife facing penury, it seems.

"Blood pressure," I remind her gently. "Oh, you're fine, quite normal," she says.

No, sister, I'm talking about yours. …

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