A pensioner says she could be forced to sell up and move house if a dispute over plans to install a driveway is not resolved.

Ann Sutton, 71, of Witham Road, Black Notley has been locked in talks with Braintree Council for several years over the matter and admits she cannot understand why planning experts will not allow her to build a drive.

Mrs Sutton is one of a number of homeowners on Witham Road who does not have a designated parking space and she says it is often 'pot luck' whether she has space to park her car each day.

An application to install a driveway in her front garden was refused by the council in 2014 due to concerns about the impact it would have on the character of the street and lack of space.

Mrs Sutton has continued discussions about the proposals ever since but with the stalemate showing no sign of ending, she admits she may be forced to move away if the council does not relax its stance.

She said: "I have been told I can put another application in and appeal if necessary, but it will still be refused. To me that seems rather nasty, why would I waste money on it if I have been told it would be refused anyway?

"They've said putting tarmac in would make the village look untidy - well they can't have walked around here recently because it's untidier than a lot of places and a bit of tarmac isn't going to be very different to the driveways on the other side of the road which go across paths and grass.

"I've had people measure my garden where I want to put it and they have said there is plenty of room for me to turn my car around.

"I want to keep trying but if they still come back with nothing, I will have to put my house on the market because it gets to me and I need parking space."

Mrs Sutton says the lack of parking in the area often means friends and relatives travelling by car are unable to visit.

She is set to lose a disabled parking permit allocated to her late husband which means she soon faces the day-to-day worry of finding a parking space.

She added: "I need a house with a driveway. I have lived in this village for 70 years and this house for 50 years which is why I am quite disheartened. You get newcomers coming in and doing what they want but they won't even listen to me. The council just cannot listen to reason.

"I'm a pensioner, I need my car and I don't want to start walking down dark roads in the winter and carrying my shopping through the streets just because I can't find a parking space near my house."

'Application will still be refused'

COUNCIL bosses insist Ann Sutton’s plan to install a driveway will still be refused if she submits a new application.

Braintree Council says its stance on the proposals has not changed since it turned down Mrs Sutton’s initial application and says it has made this clear during discussions.

A spokesman said: “This planning application was refused in 2014 because of the impact it would have on the character of the street and the lack of space within the site, compromising the safety of pedestrians and other drivers.

“We have recently responded to correspondence explaining that she would need to apply again for planning permission and that the reasons for refusal are still relevant and therefore would still be refused permission if she did reapply.”

Mrs Sutton would be able to appeal refusal, meaning the application would then be decided by a planning inspector.