SIR: Having read with great surprise the long letter from Russell Gordon-Smith, under the aptly titled “Rambling Letter” I felt compelled to write myself.

It is my understanding that Councillor Gordon-Smith oversees planning and enforcement at Winchester City Council. He claims that WCC benefit from experienced officers and the successful effort to build up their planning enforcement team.

I wonder what level the planning enforcement team must reach before they do act. My experience is that they do all they can to avoid doing anything. Citing what seems to me to be illogical and specious reasons.

Our ongoing experience of WCC Planning team began in August 2019 when our neighbours erected an overbearing stable on land which they had raised by over five feet on our boundary without permissions.

No action was taken by enforcement to remove this but instead they encouraged the neighbour to apply for consent in another location. No mention was made of the extensive engineering works which had never and still has never been applied for.

The application was recommended for approval by WCC Planners but was turned down by the Planning Committee. The only Member to vote in favour of the application was Councillor Gordon-Smith!

Enforcement was still not served; we were told to wait in case an appeal was lodged. An appeal was lodged and was dismissed. Still no enforcement was issued. The applicant reapplied and again WCC Planners recommended approval. Again, it was turned down at Committee.

None of this makes sense as the appeal was about a stable in a different location. The existing building would not get approval whatever the outcome of those applications and appeals. (Even the enforcement officer expressed surprise that nothing was being done).

The raising of the land on our boundary by over five feet has caused structural damage to our swimming pool wall and our builder has advised us we should be cautious of flooding into our basement but still WCC do nothing. We are now in the process of taking legal action.

We see from reading your columns that our experience is not unique. Does our location in the South Downs National Park mean that Councillor Gordon-Smith and the department he runs do not care? Or are there simply not enough people of the right calibre to do a proper job? Whatever the reason, perhaps the Councillor could spend less time on rambling letters to the press and more on protecting the residents of the Winchester District.

Jackie Ware,

Hayden Lane,