A few things have happened since I last wrote.

The ‘written permission’ from Phrag proved elusive.  Having heard on Thursday the 9th of May that permission to demolish had been granted, it was Friday the 24th before Bernard was able to actually collect the letter from the Phrag offices.  Only when we studied the letter did we realise that a copy had to be posted on the outside wall of the property for a further two weeks before the demolition could begin in earnest.  This was to allow for any ‘late’ objections.

We wasted no time in affixing the 'late objection' letter to the wall.

We wasted no time in affixing the ‘late objection’ letter to the wall.

While waiting for that time to pass, we established from the planning department that we needed the neighbours on both sides to sign our plans before we could submit them for approval.  Given our previous encounters with our neighbour on the left, this was not good news.

We were able to contact our neighbour on the right quite easily and he was delighted to give us his support.  He went so far as to say that if we hadn’t bought the property, he would have, if only to ensure that something positive would be done to it.  He also asked if we would be prepared to ‘straighten out’ and raise the height of the wall between our two properties and offered to share the costs of doing so.  We are only too happy to do this and will be pleased to reduce the number of steps in the wall as it stands now.

We deliberately got the “righthand” signature before approaching the “lefthand” one.

This was not so straightforward.

Neighbour on the left insisted that the plans be dropped off at her office so she could discuss them with ‘her town planner .’  This is somewhat out of the ordinary but in an effort to keep things on an even keel, this is what we did.  Leading up to this point, we had had several altercations with this neighbour who for reasons that remain quite unfathomable, is insisting that the existing scruffy precast wall between our two properties, remains in place and untouched.  This despite our offer to build a new wall, twice as high, plastered and topped with a coping, at our expense.  And despite this same neighbour, a few months back, stating in writing that ‘high walls make good neighbours.’  Logic seems to be lacking.

Following a particularly difficult confrontation earlier in the year, we stepped back from the “wall debate” and agreed to leave the existing wall as is and looked on bemused as she had electric fencing erected above it.  We still believe it would have been in her best interests to have allowed us to build a new and substantial wall between the two properties before the building gets underway, but have been quite unable to reason with her in this regard.

Two days after dropping off the plans, we received an email saying that they were signed and ready for collection on the understanding that her little wall remains untouched.  I wasted no time in picking them up before there could be any change of heart and the very next day, Friday the 7th, Bernard submitted the signed plans to the city council for approval.  And so the second waiting game begins.

On the plus side, the additional two week wait in case of ‘new’ objections, passed without incident and demolition of the original house is now properly underway.  This is what the property looked like today:

(In this photo you can see the ‘stepped’ green wall on the right that will be adjusted and on the left, one section of high wall that is painted yellow.  This was the originally the back wall of the kitchen.  In front of it you can just make out a green precast wall with electric fencing above it.  This is part of the precast walling that is deemed too special to replace.)

View of the site from south to north.

View of the site from south to north.

The west wall of the house on our right.  We'll not see this once our new house is built.

The west wall of the house on our right. We’ll not see this once our new house is built.

All I can say now is “Bring on the rubble removal trucks ASAP.”