IDEAL SOLAR ACCESS FOR PASSIVE SOLAR HEATING AND A FEELING OF WELL BEING 2010
PHOTOS OF MAIN BEDROOM AND SECOND BEDROOM
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HOW PERFECT IN RETIREMENT - LAZY WINTER MORNINGS WAKING UP TO THE SUN STREAMING THROUGH THE BEDROOM WINDOW -. ALAS HORNSBY COUNCIL SAID NO.
© 2010
Click LINK to see photographic record of shading impact of the recently completed new building development to the North prior to Winter Solstice 2011
Above after building completion 2011
Below before building completion 2010 Main bedroom and second bedroom showing target conditions for solar access
In late April 2010, after returning from our UK trip to pay last respects to my Mother, Robyn and I went to talk to Monica about the proposed building extensions and express our concerns about the overall height and resultant impact on our solar access during the winter months. (A lot of people in Sydney, ourselves included, have a preference for North facing houses and in our case the house was architect designed based on passive solar principles and included the provision of our private open space to the North to capture the winter sun. However, if you place a tall structure, 9.3m vertical profile, to the North of such a dwelling it blocks the winter sun and compromises the passive solar design capabilities).
At the time of this initial meeting I recall Monica appeared very receptive to our concerns providing lots of re-assurance and agreed to talk to her designer (Jeremy) to determine if the roof line could be changed to reduce the level of impact. Within a couple of weeks Monica came down to see me on a Saturday evening and suggested if we wanted the design changed, then maybe we would like to contribute to the costs involved (re-submission cost to council was mentioned). I was a bit taken aback but said I thought we would like to contribute as solar access was very important to us but I needed to confirm with Robyn first. Later after discussion with Robyn we both agreed that it would be money well spent noting that we previously set aside $10,000 to raise a challenge to the development in the Land and environment court (Unfortunately solicitors advised $25000 was a more realistic figure for such a court case). Anyway I thought, before I went back to see Monica that it might help if I had my own shadow diagrams and 3D models to help explain our concerns. I set about researching and trialing such software packages, and eventually after a recommendation from a friend ended up using Google Sketchup. After a lot of time and effort I put together sufficient detail in the 3D model such that I could replicate the shadow diagrams that had been included with the DA in the submission to council. In the third week in May, following the commissioning of our solar panels on sat 15th, I went up to talk with Monica at her house and spent approx an hour going over the shadow diagrams and discussing options regarding her development. I confirmed to Monica that we were certainly interested in looking to pay for the design changes noting - if there is anything I could do. Again I recall Monica said she would talk with her designer Jeremy to see what could be done to minimize impact.
Finally in the first week in June, having not heard back I went up to ask if Monica had any news on possible design changes. I sensed straight away that the situation had soured and asked if Monica had changed her mind, after further discussion on my general concerns regarding solar access, I recall Monica saying that she couldn't go and speak to Jeremy as she didn't know what the exercise was. I remember leaving feeling very disheartened and frustrated, what else could I do?
© Copyright 2016
8 May 2012
Dear Monica,
Just writing to ask for your help in relation to the height of the trees at the South East corner of your block. While these trees provide an ideal thick privacy screen in their lower section, their height has reached a point where they are blocking solar access to our house and garden. As you are aware our house is built on the basis of passive solar design principals and our front garden is our private open space used for the enjoyment of winter sunshine. We would therefore be grateful if you would prune / lop off the top of the trees in question. We really appreciate the privacy afforded by the lower section of these trees and hope that this could be maintained while in turn reducing the height to allow us the benefit of the winter sun.
Thanking you in advance for your cooperation and  consideration
Peter and Robyn

8 May 2012
Placed in letter box 9 may 2012 on return from dinner with Jon
29th May 2012

Dear Monica Thom,
We are not sure if you received our earlier note as we have not heard back from you at this stage.
We were just writing to ask for your help in relation to the height of the trees at the South East corner of your block. While these trees provide an ideal thick privacy screen in their lower section, their height has reached a point where they are blocking solar access to our house and garden. As you are aware our house is built on the basis of passive solar design principals and our front garden is our private open space used for the enjoyment of winter sunshine. We would therefore be grateful if you would prune / lop off the top of the trees in question. We really appreciate the privacy afforded by the lower section of these trees and hope that this could be maintained while in turn reducing the height to allow us the benefit of the winter sun.
Thanking you in advance for your cooperation and consideration
Peter and Robyn
---------------------------------------------------------------
Photo taken the morning of 21 May 2012 in our lounge, the most Easterly room in our house, being least impacted by shadowing. Clearly shows the objectives of the passive solar design - glorious sun during the winter months.
8 May 2012 - Wrote to our neighbour Monica Thom to ask if she would consider trimming the top off the trees along our common boundry to allow us access to the winter sun. The extension to Monicas house was already significantly compromising our Passive Solar design and now we were facing the situation here the privacy hedge between our 2 properties was at a height where it was starting to block the winter sun. Trees on our side of the boundary were no problem as I was able to trim these to the correct height. The ones on Monicas side were now starting to block the winter sun and so we asked for Monicas help --
Photo taken in our bedroom, the most westerly room in our house, same day, same time. The photo clearly shows the catastrophic impact of the building extension to our North (No sun - total shadowing). How upsetting and hurtful that, without consultation with the stakeholders, the DA to council stated “We believe the effect of additional shadow cast from the proposed additions will not have any adverse effect on the adjoining properties”. As per discussions with you, with the aid of 3D models and prior to building commencement, it was obvious that such a large structure to our North would impact our Solar Access. Clearly this represents a major impact to our lifestyle.
In addition we are now facing the situation where the height of the trees, which form the privacy screen, impact the other North-facing rooms of our house
In a passive solar design (Sydney Latitude) the low angles of sunlight at less than 22.5° are regarded as having little effectë and so the impact of the existing dwelling (#22) may be ignored. In our design we make full use of the critical sun angles between 22.5° and 45°. (ëRef. Land & Environment Planning principle)


We heard nothing further in response to our request and so we sent a follow up note with a few notes of explanation as to how we were slowly being deprived of winter sunshine -

06 July 2012 video suggests Monica in her rear garden with contractor time stamp on CCTV 19:36 to 20:49 (still set at DST). Person with clipboard taking notes.  I wonder if Monica intends to discuss any plans with us?
18 July 2012 suggest that our neighbour Monica Thom engages a contractor to perform some major pruning. Photos taken after the event suggest that lower level branches have been pruned but it is difficult to see any changes to the higher branches (there goes our privacy). I wonder if we will ever receive a response to our request to allow us a little winter sunshine.
Trees in # 22A Albion Street - Yes that's our house - aginst our express wishes to leave alone and surely in contravention of Hornsby council tree preservation order. Again never ceased to be amazed what happens to our property when we are out.
Trees in # 22 Albion Street
Before the pruning shown above
After the pruning shown above - very marginal improvement for such a drastic prune at the lower levels
Passive Solar Design - Introduction to our house design features & impact from adjacent building work
Our experience demonstrates that, in Sydney Australia, little or no protection exists to prevent shading from adjacent building development. We found that urban development is fundamentally "pro-developer" and even building guidelines that mandate a minimum level of solar access are easily side stepped by council when evaluating a development application. For anyone considering building a house in the Sydney region that features passive solar design concepts, it is worth evaluating the risk that a neighbour may build a structure that blocks solar access.
In our case Hornsby council approved our neighbours extension even though they clearly stated in their approval notice
"The proposed 9.3m height of the addition does not comply with the prescriptive measures of the Height element". That is, it was too high and would therefore block our Solar access.

(I have since performed my own assessment, based on a trigonometric calculation, of the finished building and note a height of 10 meters which I suggest is a gross exceedance of the planning regulations. My understanding of the NSW planning legislation, is that the maximum building height allowable in these circumstances is 8.5 metres. (See Ref 26 “State Environmental Planning Policy [Exempt and Complying Development Codes] 2008 at paragraph 3:13 clause 1, and Ref 27 “Complying-Development-Customer-Guide-issued-APRIL-2011” at section 4.5).
More significantly, this high point at 8.5 meters must be set back 8 meters from the rear boundary (See Ref 26 paragraph 3:17 clause 2a and Ref 23 section 4.6 clause 3:17). What a difference it would make to our solar access if these, what I understand to be mandatory legislated requirements, were imposed by council on this development application. We unambiguously articulated this point in our submission to council in response to the DA, clearly stating that the building appeared to be close to 10 meters high with sections of the extension 5 to 6 meters from our boundary. How is it that Hornsby Council can allegedly so blatantly disregard the NSW state planning legislation especially in light of our detailed submission in response to DA94/2010 noting the significant impacts that such a tall structure would have on our property.)

The requirement that dwelling-houses adjacent to new building work shall receive 4 hours of sunshine to their private open space was, for some inexplicable reason, side stepped by council. In our submission to Hornsby council we clearly articulated the area of our garden that was our private open space which therefore should have been evaluated for solar access . Hornsby Council nominated an alternate area of our yard that was already in shadow through the winter months noting that the proposed development would not cast a shadow on this alternate area. The section of our garden that was designed to take advantage of the winter sun, our front garden, was now shaded. Why take such an approach?? One of the cornerstones of the planning regulations is the provision of an outdoor area for each dwelling house that captures the winter sun. Why in the case of a dwelling in Sydney (Southern hemisphere) would council even suggest that a garden area to the South would fit this objective especially when the owners who lived there for over 25 years gave a clear explanation that the garden area to the North was the principal private open space.  
Also the requirement that Windows to north-facing living rooms on adjoining development to receive 3 hours of sunlight on 22 June (the winter solstice) was glossed over. Council stated that Overshadowing already occurs to the north facing windows to the living areas of the adjoining property to the south, No. 22A Albion Street, as a result of a 1.7m wide awning adjoining the northern side of the dwelling-house. So what council were saying in their approval report was that the passive solar design features intended to block high elevation sun angles are in fact blocking high elevation sun angles. Based on this statement it is apparently OK to block the remaining solar access with a new tall building extension!!! In our submission to Hornsby council we included design details to explain how our passive solar design worked noting the geometry of the North facing varanda. (Southern hemisphere) This is an indication of the calibre of council staff responsible for local government planning decisions- help!!.
Our neighbour was not interested in our predicament and more recent requests to trim trees that are blocking our remaining winter sun have been ignored.
6th May 2013 wrote to our neighbour Monica Thom as below, regarding shrub / bush along our driveway and again about trees blocking our winter sun. Dropped into letter box of 22 Albion Street late afternoon 6th May 2013 - heres hoping!!

YouTube Video - The Fence "Dispute Resolution by Chainsaw
Ms Monica Thom
22 Albion Street
Pennant Hills 2120



Dear Monica,

The plant in your garden next to our driveway has reached a size where it is starting to brush against our cars as we come down the drive. As a courtesy we are just writing to check that it is ok to trim it back to the boundary. Alternatively if you wish to organize the pruning yourself please let us know and we will await your action.

PS
Have you had a chance to consider our request from last year regarding trimming the top of the trees in the SE corner of your garden? They have reached a point where unfortunately they are severely restricting our winter sun. We have included the words from our original letter with the hope that you might consider our request.
“We were just writing to ask for your help in relation to the height of the trees at the South East corner of your block. While these trees provide an ideal thick privacy screen in their lower section, their height has reached a point where they are blocking solar access to our house and garden. As you are aware our house is built on the basis of passive solar design principals and our front garden is our private open space used for the enjoyment of winter sunshine. We would therefore be grateful if you would prune / lop off the top of the trees in question. We really appreciate the privacy afforded by the lower section of these trees and hope that this could be maintained while in turn reducing the height to allow us the benefit of the winter sun. “
Thanking you in advance for your cooperation and consideration

Best Regards
Waited for a reply but heard nothing - no knock on the door,  no phone call, no note in the letter box, no mail

Re-sent the letter (photo copy of the above) this time by registered mail with delivery signature requested (posted Thornleigh post office 20May13 and 2 days later received delivery receipt see below dated 21 May 2013)
Photo above showing the morning winter sun 8:20am 13 June 2013 North side of the trees in question showing plenty of sun - ideal for our passive solar design house
Photo above, same date and time, highlighting the lack of morning winter sun, South side of the trees in question, in our front garden (principal private open space). As may be seen almost no sun as the trees in Monica’s garden impose almost total shading. Bad enough that the new extension blocks a lot of the sun but now we have shading by trees to contend with. A word of caution for anyone wanting to go down the path of environmental sustainability.

Reminds me of the TV westerns I watched as a boy, like Rawhide, where the landowner upstream dammed the river to deprive the neighbour of water.
We sent a letter by registered post delivery. Above is the confirmation signed by our neighbour Monica Thom but we received no acknowledgement or reply of any kind since.
Drying clothes in the winter sun North aspect of #22 showing the clear benefit of access to winter sunshine
The photos show the benefit of this winter sun in the ability to dry the washing. Why not us as well? Why can't we have winter sun especially as our house features passive solar design?
Maybe I should take solace from the words of my neighbours namesake, Sr Catherine Thom RSJ, with reference to the lives of the Cotter sisters. This article reflects on our values and attitudes in society in the 21st century which is often contrary to the exemplary lives of the 6 sisters. Reference is made to the most basic of human emotions and beliefs, noting "Do we not stand in awe at the daily recurrence of sunrise and sunset?"
- If only?
I Don't think I will ever understand why one person needs such a big house especially as they transition into their retirement years. The original house was adequate for a family of four. Now the plans suggest the extension has increased the floor area by approx 80% plus the extension includes an additional garage and elevated patio area.
We, like a lot of people in our age group, are looking to downsize as we leave work and move into retirement. What do you do with all that house?
Looks like no intended access
Certainly not contemplated by the parties at the time of the grant
Reference:- http://www.fig.net/pub/fig2012/papers/ts02j/TS02J_rendel_5711.pdf
"No alteration can be made in the use or purpose of the easement that goes beyond that contemplated by the parties at the time of the grant; see generally the 1994 judgment of the High Court of Australia Gallagher v Rainbow and in particular the judgment of McHugh J Westfield / perpetual".
…use of an easement cannot be extended, beyond the scope of the grant, to impose a burden greater than that which the servient owner [that is, the owner of the burdened land] agreed to accept.
Reference (Harris v Flower) -http://www.stewartau.com/PUBLIC/multimedia/EasementsCovenantsCLESeminarPaper.pdf
. See also Westfield V Perpetual trustee
How could you walk or drive on this steep retaining wall - clearly not possible when the easement was drawn up
It's now Autumn 2014 and the usual letter was re submitted on 16th May 2014 but as usual no response or any sort of acknowledgement
16th May 2014


Ms Monica Thom
22 Albion Street
Pennant Hills 2120


Dear Monica,

Just a quick note to ask if you have had a chance to consider our request from previous years regarding trimming the top of the trees in the SE corner of your garden? They have reached a point where unfortunately they are severely restricting our winter sun. We have included the words from our original letter with the hope that you might consider our request.
“We were just writing to ask for your help in relation to the height of the trees at the South East corner of your block. While these trees provide an ideal thick privacy screen in their lower section, their height has reached a point where they are blocking solar access to our house and garden. As you are aware our house is built on the basis of passive solar design principals and our front garden is our private open space used for the enjoyment of winter sunshine. We would therefore be grateful if you would prune / lop off the top of the trees in question. We really appreciate the privacy afforded by the lower section of these trees and hope that this could be maintained while in turn reducing the height to allow us the benefit of the winter sun. “
Thanking you in advance for your cooperation and consideration
Best Regards
It is understood that before a submission is made to the Land and Environment Court regarding a tree dispute claim, we have to show that we have already taken steps to resolve the issue with the neighbour concerned.
The application form asks -
Question 8 -Have you or the owner of the land on which the hedge is situated taken any steps to prevent or rectify the obstruction of the sunlight?
Also
Question 30 -Have you made efforts to reach agreement to resolve this matter with the owner of the land on which the trees are situated?

In relation to question 30 the LEC guidelines state that this question (Q30) concerns a matter about which the court must be satisfied before making an order.

http://www.lec.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/agdbasev7wr/_assets/lec/m420301l731652/application_treedispute_claimdetails_highhedges.doc

Hence the need to log all communication and to send at least one letter by registered mail to demonstrate that at least receipt of the letter was acknowledged and recorded even though no response was forthcoming.
All other correspondance appears to have been ignored!!!

Saw another interesting article by our neighbours namesake Dr Catherine Thom RSJ entitled - Ecological Spirituality: You Cannot Have Well Humans On A Sick Planet
By Dr Catherine Thom 3 March 2014 The Broken Bay Institute BBI Adult Faith News - http://www.bbi.catholic.edu.au/adult-faith/fx-view-article.cfm?loadref=114&id=334.

No alteration can be made in the use or purpose of the easement that goes beyond that contemplated by the parties at the time of the grant!!!!See Ref 25 Main page


Photo above shows the morning winter sun 8:20am 13 June 2013 as received on the North facing frontage of the house of our neighbour Monica Thom.






Photo above shows the morning winter sun 8:20am 13 June 2013 as received on the North facing frontage of the house of our neighbour Monica Thom.

What about the use of the Driveway Easement in a manner against the original agreement. You can see clearly in the photos below the limitations imposed by the original retaining walls.
What about the use of the Driveway Easement in a manner against the original agreement. You can see clearly in the photos below the limitations imposed by the original retaining walls.
What about the use of the Driveway Easement in a manner against the original agreement. You can see clearly in the photos below the limitations imposed by the original retaining walls.


6th Nov 2014

Dear Monica Thom,
We are not sure if you received our earlier notes as we have not heard back from you at this stage.
We were just writing to ask for your help in relation to the height of the trees at the South East corner of your block. While these trees provide an ideal thick privacy screen in their lower section, their height has reached a point where they are blocking solar access to our house and garden. As you are aware our house is built on the basis of passive solar design principals and our front garden is our private open space used for the enjoyment of winter sunshine. We would therefore be grateful if you would prune / lop off the top of the trees in question. We really appreciate the privacy afforded by the lower section of these trees and hope that this could be maintained while in turn reducing the height to allow us the benefit of the winter sun.
Thanking you in advance for your cooperation and consideration
Peter and Robyn

It's now Autumn 2015 and another letter, explaing our situation, was re-submitted on 17th May 2015 but so far no response or any sort of acknowledgement
17th May 2015

Dear Monica Thom,
We are not sure if you received our earlier notes as we have not heard back from you at this stage.
We are writing again to ask if you had a chance to consider our requests from previous years regarding trimming the top of the trees along the South boundary of your garden. As advised in previous correspondence they have reached a point where unfortunately they are severely restricting our winter sun.
While these trees were originally intended to provide a thick privacy screen by means of the foliage just above the top of the fence between our properties, their height has reached a point where they are blocking solar access to our house and garden. As you are aware our house is built on the basis of passive solar design principals and our front garden is our private open space used for the enjoyment of winter sunshine. We would therefore be grateful if you would organise to prune / lop off the top of the trees in question (We are of course happy to assists in any you may require to this end). We really appreciate, as we are sure you do, the privacy afforded by the lower section of these trees and hope that this could be maintained while in turn reducing the height to allow us the benefit of the winter sun. It was always indented that the thick vegetation in the lower section formed an ideal barrier to restrict views into each other’s property. We are sure that you will agree that the provision of a vegetation screen to block the views into one another’s bedrooms is highly desirable.
Also we wanted to clarify that, as in previous years, we wish to prune the top sections of our trees along that same boundary line so as to improve our solar access. We hope that this task does not impose any negative impact on yourself or your property noting that some branches overhang your garden. In addition as a courtesy, we advise that we wish to trim the higher branches from your trees that block our solar access and will of course restrict this pruning to our side of the boundary line until such time as we hear from you regarding our above request. Please advise us if you have any concerns regarding any of this pruning.
Finally, we have previously written to you about the plants in your garden next to our driveway (your Eastern boundary) which regularly grow to a sufficient size where they start to brush against our cars as we come down the drive. As a courtesy we are just writing to check that it is ok to trim it back to the boundary. Alternatively if you wish to organize the pruning yourself please let us know and we will await your action. We are of course happy to prune these plants on a regular basis and dispose of the pruning’s if you so wish. Please advise us of your preferred approach.

Thanking you in advance for your cooperation and consideration

Its now Autumn and time to start thinking about pruning our own trees where they have grown to a height where they block the winter sun. So on 07 April 2015 I set to work trimming the highest branches of OUR TREES making sure I left all lower brances intact so as to maintain our privacy.
At about 16:20 Saw Monica on her path (South west corner of her property) taking photos with her tablet computer.
I recall she then proceeded to walk down to her garden taking more photos. I waved and asked her if she could help me (I was pruning at the time)
I recall she claimed I was trespassing.
I recall she advised me she would prosecute me for trespass and I would be charged in 72 hours.
WOW!!!!!
So even our own trees that grow each year thus restricting our sunlight can't be pruned!!!

It's now 4th May 2015 and it looks like Monica is pruning the lower branches of our trees that reach across into her garden. Each to their own but now so little foliage left that we look straight into each others bedrooms. Gone are the days of any sort of a privacy -YUK it gives me the creeps
17th May 2015

Dear Monica Thom,
We are not sure if you received our earlier notes as we have not heard back from you at this stage.
We are writing again to ask if you had a chance to consider our requests from previous years regarding trimming the top of the trees along the South boundary of your garden. As advised in previous correspondence they have reached a point where unfortunately they are severely restricting our winter sun.
While these trees were originally intended to provide a thick privacy screen by means of the foliage just above the top of the fence between our properties, their height has reached a point where they are blocking solar access to our house and garden. As you are aware our house is built on the basis of passive solar design principals and our front garden is our private open space used for the enjoyment of winter sunshine. We would therefore be grateful if you would organise to prune / lop off the top of the trees in question (We are of course happy to assists in any you may require to this end). We really appreciate, as we are sure you do, the privacy afforded by the lower section of these trees and hope that this could be maintained while in turn reducing the height to allow us the benefit of the winter sun. It was always indented that the thick vegetation in the lower section formed an ideal barrier to restrict views into each other’s property. We are sure that you will agree that the provision of a vegetation screen to block the views into one another’s bedrooms is highly desirable.
Also we wanted to clarify that, as in previous years, we wish to prune the top sections of our trees along that same boundary line so as to improve our solar access. We hope that this task does not impose any negative impact on yourself or your property noting that some branches overhang your garden. In addition as a courtesy, we advise that we wish to trim the higher branches from your trees that block our solar access and will of course restrict this pruning to our side of the boundary line until such time as we hear from you regarding our above request. Please advise us if you have any concerns regarding any of this pruning.
Finally, we have previously written to you about the plants in your garden next to our driveway (your Eastern boundary) which regularly grow to a sufficient size where they start to brush against our cars as we come down the drive. As a courtesy we are just writing to check that it is ok to trim it back to the boundary. Alternatively if you wish to organize the pruning yourself please let us know and we will await your action. We are of course happy to prune these plants on a regular basis and dispose of the pruning’s if you so wish. Please advise us of your preferred approach.

Thanking you in advance for your cooperation and consideration
6th Nov 2014

Dear Monica Thom,
We are not sure if you received our earlier notes as we have not heard back from you at this stage.
We were just writing to ask for your help in relation to the height of the trees at the South East corner of your block. While these trees provide an ideal thick privacy screen in their lower section, their height has reached a point where they are blocking solar access to our house and garden. As you are aware our house is built on the basis of passive solar design principals and our front garden is our private open space used for the enjoyment of winter sunshine. We would therefore be grateful if you would prune / lop off the top of the trees in question. We really appreciate the privacy afforded by the lower section of these trees and hope that this could be maintained while in turn reducing the height to allow us the benefit of the winter sun.
Thanking you in advance for your cooperation and consideration
Peter and Robyn


Its now Autumn and time to start thinking about pruning our own trees where they have grown to a height where they block the winter sun. So on 07 April 2015 I set to work trimming the highest branches of OUR TREES making sure I left all lower brances intact so as to maintain our privacy.
At about 16:20 Saw Monica on her path (South west corner of her property) taking photos with her tablet computer.
I recall she then proceeded to walk down to her garden taking more photos. I waved and asked her if she could help me (I was pruning at the time)
I recall she claimed I was trespassing.
I recall she advised me she would prosecute me for trespass and I would be charged in 72 hours.
WOW!!!!!
So even our own trees that grow each year thus restricting our sunlight can't be pruned!!!

It's now 4th May 2015 and it looks like Monica is pruning the lower branches of our trees that reach across into her garden. Each to their own but now so little foliage left that we look straight into each others bedrooms. Gone are the days of any sort of a privacy -YUK it gives me the creeps
It's now Spring 2014 and the usual letter, plus some diagrams (same as included in letter of 29th May 2012 see above) explaing our situation, was re-submitted on 6th Nov 2014 but as usual no response or any sort of acknowledgement

It's now Autumn 2015 and another letter, explaing our situation, was re-submitted on 17th May 2015 but so far no response or any sort of acknowledgement