We opened the door all smiles and handshakes, ready to make best of friends with the person that in many ways had our future in their hands!
It did not start off very well at all. He refused to shake hands with us!
We had heard stories about how planning officers can be difficult and distant, often to maintain and demonstrate their independence in what is often a highly emotive issue.
But this was ridiculous! To refuse a handshake to maintain neutrality? That was just down right rude.
Ok, so maybe we were a bit nervous. It was a fair enough excuse. Quite polite even. He had actually noticed our little boy in the background and did not want to pass on a cold. Very considerate actually! A nice chap. Maybe he would approve our plans over a nice cup of tea?
“No, thank you. I will just have a quick walk around, on my own if you don’t mind, and then be on my way.” That was that then.
He may have been a planning officer but would probably do very well as a poker player. He kept a completely neutral expression throughout his visit, which lasted about 15 minutes in total. We had waited almost four months for this day and it was over in 15 minutes!
The planning officer then left, promising to get back to us in the next week or so. He did mention that the department was incredibly busy and under-staffed as a parting comment. We were probably more aware of that than he realised.