Widows face financial ruin over window row

PUBLISHED: 06:56 28 January 2009 | UPDATED: 22:56 15 June 2010

TWO Seaton widows have been hit by planning restrictions with East Devon District Council ordering they remove windows which cost thousands of pounds.

TWO Seaton widows have been hit by planning restrictions - with East Devon District Council ordering they remove windows which cost thousands of pounds.Green Dragon Antiques owner Sally Denning and Animal Botanical landlady Connie Wellington fear they will struggle financially if they have to replace the windows.The women say they were unaware of the restrictions and could be forced to live off a state pension if their businesses fail as a result of the costs.But EDDC refused their appeals and said the stores' windows were not in keeping with a conservation area.Sally Denning, 62, owner of Green Dragon Antiques, in Marine Crescent, said she was given permission when she rang the council prior to fitting the windows two years ago.But, shortly after the windows were put in at a cost of £3,000, she was told to put in an application for retrospective planning - which proved unsuccessful.She said: "It's pretty unfair. If I lose this shop then I'll have nothing but my pension. "It's ridiculous, especially with businesses closing. We were saving fuel and electricity with these windows. The old wooden doors had rusted hinges and let water in."She said it had been an expensive experience as she had to pay almost £300 to put in her application, including a survey map.Owner of Animal Botanical, Connie Wellington, 85, said, after she put in double glazed windows, she heard from the council it was a conservation area.She said: "I heard from the council it was a conservation area - but I'd had no idea. "Emotionally this is a big issue for me to deal with. I've been shocked and very upset by it. I just don't see how having spent all that money I could spend more. All I'll have is a fixed pension."She said she has been given 28 days to remove the windows, but expects to appeal again. Mrs Denning said she has been granted six months to replace her windows.Tony Curtis, who leases Animal Botanical, said: "All these small businesses are making an effort, especially when places are closing, and you just can't win. The shop is looking nice and clean rather than boarded up."A spokesman for EDDC said: "Owners of premises within a Conservation Area are strongly advised to discuss their plans, in detail, with our planning or conservation officers and then to submit an application before proceeding with any replacement windows.

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