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Council Tracks Planning Culprits by Satellite

The town council of Carcassonne has decided to make use of aerial and satellite photos to tackle planning violations.

Of particular interest to the council are the number of swimming pools they consider have not been declared.

According to a report in the regional newspaper La Dépêche du Midi, the council have tasked a special team of five officials to undertake an inventory of all external pools through the examination of aerial and satellite photos.

Although the installation of an inground swimming pool does not require planning permission, you are still required to submit a works declaration (déclaration préalable) to your local council.

As with most other new additions to a property, inground swimming pools add to the rateable value of a property, which then goes towards the amount levied through the two local property taxes in France, the taxe d’habitation and the taxe foncière.

So if the pools are not being declared there is a loss of income to the council.

Those found in breach will be liable for arrears of rates, together with a small penalty sum.

They will also be required to submit a works declaration to retrospectively obtain approval for the works.

Although other unauthorised building works forms part of the remit of the investigating team, it is likely the council have focussed on swimming pools as the easier target.

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This article was featured in our Newsletter dated 02/11/2010

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