The new roof at the China Moon restaurant

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a GIRVAN restaurant owner has blasted the local authority after after a dispute about his roof repairs.

Billy Walker, of the China Moon in Montgomerie Street in Girvan, spent nearly £10,000 repairing his leaking roof only to be told by South Ayrshire Council that he needed planning permission for the work.

Billy told the Gazette that he has spent a lot of money bringing the restaurant up to standard, but was amazed to read the safety advert in the paper last week from the council about maintaining your property to improve public safety.

He explained: “I couldn’t believe it when I read that article in the Gazette.

“I’ve spent a lot of money bringing the building up to standard and yet I get criticised by the council for doing so.

“The roof was leaking so we knew it had to be repaired. It’s our responsibility as owners of the property. I got estimates from a number of companines and went with the one that we thought was the best value.

“The builder who carried out the work insisted that no planning permission was needed as we were replacing the damaged roof. And he had over 25 years of experience in the trade, even he couldn’t believe it when I told him there was a problem from the council about the roof.

“The council aren’t happy with the red roof we have now and say we needed planning permission for it. We’ve been told it needs to be replaced.

“The colour red is a sacred colour to China, none of the neighbours have complained about it. The only one with the problem is the council, you can’t see it from the road, so what’s the problem?

“We’ve replaced a leaking roof with a watertight one to improve the safety of the building.

“If we hadn’t, we would have put our customers in danger.”

However, South Ayrshire Council argue that Mr Walker should have confirmed with their planning department before he had the roof repairs carried out and urge anyone else in that position to do the same to avoid any problems.

Lesley Bloomer, Executive Director of Development and Environment for South Ayrshire Council said: “Anyone wishing to undertake works to their property is strongly encouraged to check with the Planning Service beforehand as to the need for planning permission.

“This should be undertaken directly with the Planning Service and owners should not rely solely on the advice that a builder or other tradesman may offer.

“The council also encourages those wishing to undertake works to make use of the pre-application service provided by the Planning Service website at www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/planning/forms.aspx

“It helps the public to understand the appropriateness of their intended works before incurring costs of drawing up detailed plans and incurring planning application fees.”

You can also conatct South Ayrshire Council’s Building Standards Services at Burns House, Ayr on 01292 616253 for more information on how to deal with dangerous or defective buildings.