Thursday, 8 January 2009

Rats and Regulations

Posted by Rosie

"What's that noise?" I asked, woken up by some noise in the loft.
"A mouse wearing clogs," muttered Simon before turning over and going back to sleep.

Well some type of rodent is living in the loft, so yesterday I went up and set a couple of traps. Today I went up to check the traps but only found ONE trap. Simon and I spent the next hour searching the loft for a mousetrap - and we had taken up the dogs and a stick each taken in case we met an irate rat with a mousetrap attached to some part of it's anatomy. We searched the barn next door and all the boxes, bags and assorted paraphernalia that we have accumulated up there but there was no sign of the trap. I have to admit it is one of the reasons I don't like traps but then poison can be a worse death for the animal and you run the risk of a decaying rodent trapped in some inaccessible place. So now we have re-set the mousetrap and put a rat-trap up there and we will see what the result is tomorrow.

On a more positive note we have cleared another hurdle with regards to getting our planning permission. Before Christmas we had received a letter from the Planning Department asking for information on our proposed modifications regarding disabled access. We had been advised that new regulations state that gites with more than 5 bedrooms must have disabled access so we have planned for a downstairs bedroom and wheelchair accessible bathroom. But apparently this may not be enough. I rang the architect who sent us some information which implied that we would have to make the WHOLE downstairs accessible for people with all disabilities i.e. dropped work surfaces, correct lighting, handrails etc etc. This was not good news. We are planning to be an eco-gites, not a disabled access complex and if we had to implement these new regulations they would cost a lot and be difficult to do.

An Internet search only led me to the site saying what ALL the modifications are, not which one we would have to implement. So I went to the Mayor's Office to see if they could help. The secretary found no more information online than me so she phoned the Planning Office. After 2 phone calls she got through to the right office but no-one was in.

Ho hum - this is all too often how things happen in France as I went home clutching a phone number and wondering how I would manage to get the information with my not too brilliant French. To cut a rather long story short and thanks to help from a French lady we have been told the new regulations are only for new builds, not conversions. All that work was a complete waste of time and our plans are fine. But we need to re-submit the plans with some additional outside drawings and now our architect is away until mid January. One step forward 2 steps back.


  1. Having to use an architect is a pain. We had one for the first gite we did and it is thanks only to the strong will of my wife that we got what we wanted rather than what he wanted.

    For the next two we avoided the problem by doing the plans ourselves, even though both were above the 170m2 limit. Julia is an engineer and did the drawings, then, we had an architect come for one day only to verify them, which cost about €900 rather than several thousand.

    Your hard work will no doubt be worth it in the end, so hang in there.

  2. We have applied for all our planning permission in one hit so hopefully when we get out "permis de construire" there will be no more need of architects.


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