Just a few photos to update you on the progress of the house. These were taken just before Christmas. Work is due to start on site again tomorrow. We are expecting and hoping for a flurry of activity.
Today we received a very exciting letter from the Mairie in Montemoeuf telling us that we have been granted planning permission for our house! Our only planning condition (accord avec prescriptions) was in relation to the drainage (more on that below). It took them under 2 months to decide, so probably a lot less than you would expect from planners in the UK. We were worried that they wanted more information about the drainage and that this would hold things up, but it appears as though this was sorted out for us. We were also concerned that we were going to have to put in an application for a septic tank, but seeing as there is a drainage system right by the land, we are able to connect directly in to this.
We have both been very impressed by the service that we have received from the planners in Confolens and the speed in which they got back to us. We are also pleased that they have approved something that isn’t typically ‘French’ and seem have embraced the designs that Tom has come up with. Then again it does appear as though there are a few timber framed houses in the Charente and near to where we are, so maybe things are changing. Also with organisations such as Futurobois building in timber frame is no longer seen as ‘out there’. Futurobois which is an inter-professional association of timber companies in the Poitou-Charentes region, including all firms, from logging, to architects, to sawmills, coopers and carpenters. They also assist. professionals in the responsible and sustainable development of their business, through collective or individual actions.
There are still a few legal matters that we need to get through first though. Once consent is granted a public notice procedure follows. We have to display a notice on site, which must remain during the whole of construction period and must be clearly visible to the public. During the first two months in which the notice is displayed, the planning decision can be contested by third parties! The Mairie also places a decision notice at the town hall for at least two months, although a failure by them to do so does not delay start of the period for contesting the consent.
The Mairie also have a period of three months when they can withdraw the planning consent that may have been granted, on the grounds that is was granted illegally although this is not common! A similar right exists for the local préfet for a two month period after the consent was granted. Tom and I are not too concerned by this, but it is good to know where we stand and the possibilities that could hold us up.
We are now obliged to start work on site within two years and we must proceed in a reasonably regular manner, or risk having the consent rescinded. I don’t think that there is any danger that we will not comply to this, it is just a question of finding the right builders to do there work. Tom is hoping to pay a visit at Easter, but this will slightly depend on our impending arrival….All the more reason to apply to Grand Designs, they like nothing more than a pregnant woman working on site!