Polly Tunnel

Hello all,

Tthis is the first time I have posted anything, hope I have done it correctly. I have read many articles on Survive France which have been very helpful.

There is a concern we now have and wondered if anyone would let us know if they have had similar problems.

We have a small field in our commune (about half an acre) that is surrounded by four houses; three of them face away from the field except our house which directly overlooks the field. The field is owned by a person within our commune. All the time we have lived here (about nine years) the field has been used to grow corn and hay. Late last year we were approach by the land owner’s grandson who does not live in the commune to say he was going to use the field to grow organic vegetables and to erect a greenhouse/Polly tunnel. When we first asked how big the structure would be, he pointed to an area that did not come into our view. But when he started to erect the tunnel, it was over twice as long as he originally explained and now is in full view from our house and garden .The tunnel is about 200ft long. Also, he has erected it very close to our property about 40ft away. When I said that the tunnel is twice as big as he had previously explained he just shrugged his shoulders.

The problems we now have,

1 When it’s a sunny day the sun reflects off the plastic into our garden and also into our house.

2 Because he has not secured the sides, the plastic moves each time there is a breeze the noise gets louder the stronger the wind.

3 When it rains, the noise of the rain on the plastic is quite loud, the heavier the rain the louder the noise.

We have asked on several occasions about the reflection and the noise, he is aware of the problems, each time he says “next week” he has been saying this for over four months.

We have always slept with our window open in the bedroom but if it rains or is windy the noise continually wakes us. We have tried to keep the window closed but are unable to sleep properly.

I contacted an English speaking solicitor for advice and to explain our problem. His comments were, “it is their land and they can do whatever they like, we should just get used to it as there is nothing that we can do about it”. If we did decide to seek further advice he said that we would be wasting our money for the reasons he explained above. We could not really consider any action as we are pensioners living on a basic pension, and our French is extremely poor therefore it is difficult to communicate.

During one conversation with the grandson we suggested that if he reduced the length of the tunnel by half and placed the other half alongside i.e. two shorter tunnels side by side would solve the problems that affect us. Originally he agreed but returned a few days later to say no, as it would cost him about 500 euros. He then suggested that we plant a hedge along our border to hide his tunnel. He obviously thinks this should be at our expense.

Bernie Faiers.

Hi Bernie, trying the bottle that the others have mentioned might work, but it might also be worthwhile to check with your local Maire to see if permission is required for a poly tunnel. Structures over a certain height and size do require permission. I found this useful article on building in general (although it seems to apply more to habitable construction rather than agricultural uses):

there are several criteria for permission to be allowed when building, including if the structure is within 500m of an historic building or centre etc. Might be worth a read for you.

Another thing to find out is if this tunnel is affecting wildlife at all - and if so, can any action can be taken to remove it. But I have a feeling that because he is a member of the community and making a living from it, no action would be taken even if it was not quite up to scratch.

On the good side - because he hasn't secured the sides, it won't be long before there are strips of plastic tearing away (however I do fear for the surrounding countryside and eventual littering this will cause, not to mention getting into the tummies of wild animals) and plastic does deteriorate quite quickly under harsh sun.

Some practical things you can do re the light and the noise - get some thin cane blinds and just let them down on sunny days - you won't lose all your light but at least won't be blinded by the reflections; think about getting your windows on that side double glazed and that will reduce the wind and rain noises as well as saving you money on your heating.

Shove it where his head was? Good luck.

Hi Vic,

I might just try out your advice. Just wondering if it doesn't have the desired result what I should do with the empty bottle!!

As Vic says, a good glass might help, and also, whilst you've mellowed him, bring up the free veg that you expect for the rest of your life!

If it was me I'd take a bottle, have a drink with him & tell him how pissed of I was. I'd also offer to help him move it. It may appeal to his conscience & at the least show him how serious you are about the problem. Good luck, I have found that there's nothing worse than a Frenchman with his head up his arse but the offer of a drink sometimes helps to extract it. Don't start on me you lot, especially you Peter I love the French--Honest ;-)