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Bowling alley planning permission kicked to the gutter
A Father who built his gifted son a ten-pin bowling alley on the drive of his West Hyde home has been ordered to tear it down after failing to secure planning permission.
Simon Taylor, a private landlord with no construction experience, spent more than 1,000 hours lovingly constructing the professional quality alley between May 2010 and April 2011 to help his 11-year-old son Austin develop his prodigious talent.
Austin has won the national and south of England bowling tournaments in his age group for each of the last four years and dreams of one day turning professional.
Mr Taylor said: “He is a phenomenon, he will definitely wear the England shirt. He holds the national record by over 100 pins and I believe we are talking about a future world champion.
“To become the best you have to have a major gift and you have to practice as often as possible. I often work in the evenings and cannot take him bowling every night.”
Mr Taylor dug out a huge section of drive at his Old Uxbridge Road home using only a shovel and concreted the area before installing a bowling lane complete with polished wood floor, gutters and an electric pinsetter machine which he acquired from a bowling alley that had gone out of business.
The alley was then covered by a 2.4 metre by 2.4 metre poly-tunnel to protect it from the elements.
But when he applied for retrospective planning permission in June 2011, Three Rivers District Council refused and ordered Mr Taylor to tear up all his hard work.
A subsequent appeal to the planning inspectorate found it was inappropriate development in the Green Belt and upheld the decision, leaving Mr Taylor searching for alternative ways to keep the structure.
Appeal documents show one neighbour voiced concerns about the noise made by the pinsetter machine which was accepted by planning inspector Christine Newmarch following a visit to the property.
Mr Taylor denies the noise is a problem but despite accepting a section of the tunnel is in breach of planning regulations, believes there is still a strong case for keeping the structure and says he is prepared to make modifications, including a retractable tunnel. It seems there is no scope for compromise, however.
“I would have agreed to modify it if they had said what they wanted me to do,” he said.
“I am getting a consultant to advise me about what I can do. My challenge is to change it into something that is permitted in the Green Belt. We are supposed to be encouraging sport and I have gone way beyond what most parents do.
“I have got this little boy who has this wonderful potential and I am trying to help him. To have someone try to stop that is very hurtful.”