COUNCILLORS have rejected a plan for a house claiming the applicant was "playing the system".

Jane Ratcliffe applied for a change of a planning condition regarding the use of a building at the bottom of her garden at Brown Eaves, Main Road, Colden Common.

Her stepson has suffered serious injuries in a car crash and wishes to live in the building.

The application is to change the status of the building from 'incidental' to the main house to 'ancilliary' which means it can be lived in.

But the planning committee heard that objectors fear this is an attempt to make it it a home independent of the main house.

There is a long planning history to the plot. The building was originally erected without planning permission which has since been granted. Other application have been rejected and an enforcement notice has been issued.

The application attracted nine objections from villagers including the parish council. There were nine letters of support mainly from elsewhere.

Louise Cutts, planning agent for Ms Ratcliffe, told the planning committee that it can be "reassured that if the building were to be used as an independent residential dwelling the existing enforcement notice would bite."

Council planning officers recommended approval and head of planning Julie Pinnock warned the committee that it should put the past history behind them and consider this application on its merits.

Cllr Jane Rutter said: "I remember the semi-detached bungalows being put up without permission. I thought it would have been knocked down. It is very intrusive."

Planning officer Liz Marsden described it as a 'granny annexe,' to which Cllr David McLean responded: "It is not a granny annexe, it is a house just without a kitchen and bathroom which can be easily refitted as the connections for electricity and drainage are still there."

Cllr Frank Pearson said: "This is playing the system. Just by changing the wording of the application they are hoping to get a house in the countryside that should never be there in the first place."

Cllr Russell Gordon-Smith agreed. "I have a bad feeling about it. It's the thin end of the wedge. I don't think it is wise (to grant permission)."

Councillors voted unanimously with nine votes to reject the application.