Legal News from Janine Heil – Moving Home

Moving House – Understanding Extensions and Building Works

It is common these days for people to have carried out extensions and/or reconfiguration works to a property. It is important to have a proper survey done on any property you wish to buy as your surveyor can not only spot what has been added or changed but also advise on whether it is satisfactory or needs further investigation.
Your solicitor is checking the legalities for you, to make sure that all required permissions and documents are in place, but ultimately you want to know that it has been properly built and poses no structural risk which only a surveyor can confirm. The common confusion around paperwork is the difference between planning permission and building regulations.
Planning Permission (which includes Permitted Development) is only about the Local Authority in the area the property is located, allowing certain works to be carried out. Building Regulations are minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to virtually every building. They are set by the UK government.
Work done to a property may or may not need planning permission, but it will almost certainly need building regulations approval after completion and a certificate from the building control department of the Local Authority or from an Approved Inspector.
The common confusion is that all is ok if there was planning permission or permitted development, but that is not always the case. There is only a complete and satisfactory picture if it goes hand-in-hand with building regulations approval or evidence that it was not required. Is your paperwork in order if you are looking to sell a home that has had work done to it?
Janine Heil, Partner, Leigh Duncan Solicitors
Janine qualified as a solicitor in 2004 and set up Leigh Duncan in 2016 with her husband Ingmar. She
has been acting in the sale and purchase of property for over 14 years, the last 9 of those have been based in Beaconsfield. If you have any questions, feel free to pop in and speak to Janine, Ingmar or any of the friendly team next time you are passing.

Lipreading Awareness Week – Sept 10 – 14th


During Lipreading Awareness Week free ‘taster’ sessions for classes in Lipreading
and Managing Hearing Loss will be held in various locations around the country.
When people lose their hearing it often means they gradually stop attending social
events as it can be so difficult to cope. This can result in isolation and depression.
While hearing aids have improved enormously in recent years, they are ‘aids’ to
hearing and don’t fix the problem in the way that glasses can for eyesight. It is still
difficult to hear in noisy environments. Attending a lipreading class offers the
chance to meet others in the same situation – the classes are relaxed and enjoyable
as well as informative.
Everyone already lipreads to a certain extent – think how we notice immediately if a
film is out of sync- your eyes are telling you something different from your ears.
As well as learning what sounds look alike on the lips the classes cover coping
strategies and discuss equipment that can help.
Judy Perry is a qualified lipreading tutor and has a hearing loss herself so
understands the challenges well. She will be running two free one-hour taster
sessions during Lipreading Awareness week this year, as follows:
Gerrards Cross
Tuesday 11 September at 3pm
in the Memorial Centre on East Common, and;
Friday 14 September at 11am
in the Community Room adjacent to the library in the High Street
For more information email – or just turn up!
For details of classes in other areas see:

Meet Anita Cranmer – our New Mayoress of Beaconsfield

Hello, I am honoured to be the new Mayor of Beaconsfield!

anita-cranmer-mayoress-beaconsfieldHaving just finished a weekend of four events know that it will be a busy and responsible role of representing the town.  I have lived in many places in England and also spent 20 years in the USA and know what makes a good town and Beaconsfield is a very good town. Having lived in the USA I appreciated the generous spirit there of giving back when you have had good experiences. I  saw the same spirit here so  when I got into local government, being elected 12 years ago to South Bucks District Council, I loved it! I believed  I could make a small difference. I served there on the Cabinet for 8 years and then moved to Town Council and County where I am Councillor and Mayor now.

In earlier life I taught at Wycombe High School for girls and briefly at Beaconsfield High too. My family life was very busy with 6 children and I did a lot of fundraising and volunteering at their schools. I also became involved in Charities and  worked on the St Johns Ambulance County defibrillator appeal. My life has been all about family and giving back in appreciation  for all I was lucky enough to have through our education systems and opportunities. I have a strong faith which was forged in the tough situation of losing a son to meningitis  at the age of 5 in USA and since then have  been involved in helping those in similar situations where I can.

Editor: We welcome Anita as Mayoress of Beaconsfield and wish her every success.


Save our Green Belt – 30th June 10am – 1pm

Beaconsfield Society is holding an informal Save Our Green Belt drop-in 10am – 1pm Saturday 30th June at Fitzwilliams Centre, Beaconsfield, as part of our campaign against release of a massive area of Beaconsfield Green Belt for 1700 homes, office/industrial space and travellers’ site. The area extends practically from jct. 2 of the M40 up to the railway line, well beyond the ex MOD Wilton Park site and abuts Beaconsfield Golf Course.

This development would increase the population of Beaconsfield by around 4,500 people which is unsustainable. The District Council’s own consultants say that the planned “relief road” would not bring any relief at all with travel times increasing by 600%, so a ten minute journey would take an hour! They are being forced to look at massive road engineering works to cope with the projected increase in traffic, such as: traffic lights at Potkiln Lane/A40; a filter lane from A40 west onto the A355; increasing Pyebush roundabout to add more lanes and approach lanes; and a 2 lane roundabout at Ledborough Lane/A355 making Ledborough Lane a congestion zone. The extent of the development is such that our neighbours in Seer Green and anyone travelling through or using the services of the town would be affected.

The town would quite simply be strangled by this increase. Add to that the fact that the land in question is the most expensive of all of the options, we see gross profiteering in prospect rather than benefit to the community.

Please sign the mandate and donate to a fighting fund at 

seer-green-save-the-green-belt seer-green-save-the-green-belt

Win a treasure from the Baltic Sea!






If you would like to win a tube of this amazing ointment, please visit our competition page to enter. The competition closes on 10th June. Winners will notified after this date.

Meanwhile if you can’t wait, visit this website to try for yourself!


Education Centre Official Opening at Bekonscot

On Wednesday 22nd March Beaconsfield Local were delighted to be invited to Bekonscot Model Village for the official opening of the Education Centre. All guests were invited to peruse the village and then we were ‘summoned’ by Dick Smith – Beaconsfield’s Town Crier to listen to the speech and cutting of the ribbon.

Cathy Sturrock, head of the centre gave a welcoming speech and lots of interesting background information regarding the centre. Chris Owen, town Mayor and 2 children cut the ribbon.

Watch the video below to see the actual opening.

Everyone was invited to look around the centre and enjoy some drinks and food. This is a great addition to the already wonderful model village that has been in new Beaconsfield since 1929.


Royal Saracens Head Party

We were delighted to be invited to the Royal Saracen’s Head party to celebrate their new make-over. Since our visit in October when we wrote a review, Richard – General Manager gave us a tour and told us of their renovation plans. We were more than pleasantly surprised at the change. It was wow wow wow! You will need to go in for yourselves to see the difference. I want to go back in when there are less bodies – as it was absolutely heaving.

I invited a few of Beaconsfield Local advertisers who have been very supportive and loyal to the magazine and met for the first Ann from Pediworx and Donna from Pillowtalkhome. Delighted to see Dr Nishel Patel – our local GP and cosmetic aesthetic specialist and Ingmar and Janine partners at Leigh Duncan Solicitors.

A really fun evening.



Should I get the ‘flu jab?

I have been asked this question – or one like it – on many occasions, and the answer is usually “yes”. However it takes some investigation and personal advice to assess your personal risk.

‘Flu is currently topical in the news. The outbreak in Australia and New Zealand has led to many fatalities, with young children also having been affected. The concern in the recent days has been whether this “horror ‘flu” strain will make its way to these shores. You may well remember the Swine ‘flu scare a few years ago. The NHS responded magnificently, and called in the at-risk groups for a second jab. Subsequently, ‘flu jabs over recent years have all been modified to include the various risky strains. So, whilst this year’s ‘flu jab cannot be absolutely guaranteed to protect us against the Antipodean strain, we can take comfort in the vast amount of research and clinical excellence that goes into producing our yearly injection.

‘Flu can be unpleasant, but if you are otherwise healthy it will usually clear up within a week. However, ‘flu can be more severe for:

• anyone aged 65 and over.

• pregnant women.

• children and adults with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart or respiratory disease).

• children and adults with weakened immune systems. Anyone in these risk-groups are more likely to develop potentially serious complications, so it’s recommended that they have a ‘flu-vaccine every year, to protect them. The injected ‘flu vaccine is offered free on the NHS annually to:

• Over the age of 18 at risk of ‘flu (including everyone aged 65 and over).

• pregnant women.

• children aged six months to two years at risk of ‘flu.

There is also a nasal-spray available for younger children, and slightly older little ones in at- risk groups. All the information can be found on the NHS website, a great source of help before needing to visit your local surgery.

Now, the next most popular question: “Does the ‘flu jab give you the ‘flu?” Simple answer: “No, it cannot – it is a vaccine containing no live viruses. It might give you a headache, mild fever and muscle ache for a couple of days – but that is all. So, if you are in one of the at-risk groups I recommend that you attend your surgery for your jab. Private ‘flu jabs for those who do not fulfil the criteria are available for about £15.

To ask a question to Dr Nishel Patel please email him on


Moving House in Time for Christmas?

The lead-up to Christmas is always an exciting and busy time.  Many people going through the process of buying a new home during this festive season hope to complete in time to celebrate Christmas day in their new home?
I love this time of year, and the opportunity to enjoy the excitement of clients who are moving home.  Yes, we are their solicitors, but we are not immune to the infectious ‘buzz’ around Christmas time!
If you are moving home in time for Christmas, it is important for you to select and instruct a solicitor as soon as possible, whilst gathering all relevant documentation, including records of any work you have done to it (if you are selling), and making sure you can demonstrate where your funds are coming from (if you are buying).
Find out from the estate agent what the selling-chain is on your transaction, and understand that it can take time to complete searches, perhaps around missing planning permission documents, tree preservation orders or a lack of building regulation documentation.  Finally, remember that monies have to be in place with your solicitor for both exchange-of-contracts and for completion.
Finally, I will leave you with the true ‘festive’ story concerning something even your solicitor cannot control – the weather! On the day of a completion, during a heavy snowfall, the buyer’s removal van arrived at their new property, only to find that the seller’s removal van had got stuck, leaving. The sellers were stranded at what was no longer their house!  The buyers offered the sellers the top floor for the night while the buyers occupied the ground floor so all could be sorted in the morning. It was, after all, the season of goodwill. Ho! Ho! Ho!
Janine Heil, Partner,
Leigh Duncan Solicitors