In the last issue I asked for feedback on local authorities' policy on shop shutters, to help Surinder Rai and his father Piara Lal overturn an order from the planning enforcement officer at Bedford Borough Council to remove their new £10,000 security shutters.
It is now against Bedford's policy to allow installation of any adequate shutters in the town (only the see-through chain link types or the ones you put inside, rather than outside, your expensive windows are now allowed).
With the help of a local chartered surveyor they are trying to get this blanket policy changed to one where individual cases are judged on their merit. Surinder has sent me photocopies of pictures he has taken of shuttered shops in Bedford, including a drop-in cop shop.
However, a spokeswoman for the council told me that local policy is that existing shutters can remain, but any new ones have to have planning permission and shutters should be the sort that allow some view into the premises for security reasons.
The family did not apply for permission because they had just extended their store and replaced the 30-year-old shutters with far better-looking ones that will only go up after 10pm at night.
Their current tactic, having applied for retrospective planning permission, is to try to persuade a councillor that this not a cut-and-dried case and that it should be heard before the planning committee, where they might win on a vote.
I wasn't swamped with feedback - only one or two where councils once had a no-shutter policy (except, in one case, for the council's own premises) and then later realised they were a necessary evil. So I know this is not a nationwide problem.
However, here's a tip. Subhash Varambhia (Snutch Newsagents, Leicester) writes: "Been there, done that and been shuttered up!"
Back in 1994 Leicester City Council did a purge to prevent the town centre taking on a ghetto-like appearance and said it was following complex broad guidelines. He calls it "an abuse of power by local tin-pot councillors".
Subhash has a solution to the Bedford problem. Convert your solid shutters by removing a small area of the shutter and slotting in a perforated bit (a bit like adding a letterbox). He adds that the shutter supplier should have known better.