Monday, 14 March 2011


When an old friend from Cotton End contacted me to tell me the Council had sent him an enforcement notice and were chasing him for £221 because he didn't have the correct notification in place before he commenced work on insulating his loft, I thought he was the victim of some sort of scam.

So I asked him for copies, and subsequently fell off my chair! It seems as if the new Tory/Lib Dem government  from October 2010 have been insisting on new rules first introduced by a Labour Government in 2006 being imposed on us more rigidly to correctly monitor the size of our wedge! In other words, how thick is your insulation? But the Lib Dems on NBC it seems have gone one step further.

My friends above had a new roof constructed by a friend in the trade and being climate friendly decided to upgrade the loft insulation at the same time. They shouldn't have been so eco minded as that act of green conscience has now cost them an additional £221.

The Council (who are never shy in issuing penalty notices or taking firm action against wrongdoers, see have told him "it is an offence not to send the notices required by the Building Regulations for change of use; failure to do so could make you liable to a fine. In addition, notice can be served on you requiring you to cut into, lay open or pull down sufficient of the works to ascertain whether there has been any contravention of the regulations" and then they threaten him with legal action if he doesn't comply.

He is fitting loft insulation for Christ's sake!!

Confused I did a trawl of the net and found that most Councils complied with the new law in as much as asking householders to apply for permission and be subject to inspection, but they sensibly waived the fee. It also seems that the measure is very hard to police and most councils sensibly turn a blind eye to everything but new build. But when has Liberal Democrat controlled Northampton Borough Council ever done the sensible thing?

The cost of getting someone in to insulate an average size loft is around £250, if you do it yourself then its a lot cheaper about £5 per sqM.

But in Lib Dem Northampton you can now add £221 to that bill! Hardly encourages you to be green does it? Best just leave well alone I guess?

The 2007 Liberal Democrat Manifesto for the Borough Council elections also told us that:

"To maximise the impact of environmental improvements we will investigate schemes to encourage home and building owners to 'retrofit' these environmental improvements to existing buildings. This may include increased insulation, solar heating schemes, grey water schemes etc."

Just how is charging an extra £221 encouraging home and building owners to retrofit insulation? Another meaningless Lib Dem promise sold out at the altar of High Conservatism. At least Cllr Perkins will be pleased.

Its not the Lib Dem's that are green it is us for ever believing them to be eco friendly in the first place

Sunday, 13 March 2011


Over the next few weeks residents of Spring Boroughs, will be asked for their views from three different sources for three different studies. It is important that residents understand what they have to do by law and what they can choose to do or not do if they wish:

1) 2011 Census: This is a purple booklet sent in an A4 envelope with “Household Questionnaire” written on the top, It is very important that you fill this form in and return it in the envelope provided. This is a legal document and failure to return it could lead to a fine of up to £1000. if you have any concerns on this form phone the Census helpline on 0300 0201 101 PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU COMPLETE AND RETURN THIS CENSUS FORM

2) Northampton Borough Council consultation on regeneration: You will receive a letter about this, and you can choose to take part or not, consultants appointed by the Council will conduct interviews door to door to ask your views on the future regeneration of Spring Boroughs, including sensitive questions on which blocks of flats you feel should be demolished! Unlike the census you can chose to take part or not in this study and if you do just be open. The survey is anonymous and the residents association will be holding public meetings to discuss the outcome further

3) Northampton Borough Council will also be engaging different consultants to carry out a “Stock Condition Survey” in other words asking council tenants if they can inspect their properties to find out what repairs need doing, again this will be done block by block, door to door. And again the choice is yours as to whether or not to participate.

I initially had some real concerns over these surveys all being carried out at the same time and also about their content, and I remain worried that they might raise fears in the neighbourhood about the future of peoples homes. I have raised these concerns with the council and told them that I considered opposing the last two of these studies. But if we are ever to get the council to act on our needs then we will need to provide the evidence of their neglect of Spring Boroughs and of our homes. So whilst I believe the questionnaires could have been conducted better by Caspar or the Residents Association without the need to waste any money on consultants, I have decided not to oppose them, but instead I leave it to you to determine what information you wish to give.




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