Feedback: Very good service from beginning to end! I was most impressed with the high quality of the building, the ease of erecting it and the politeness of the team. There have been many complimentary comments from the church community and visitors. Well done :-)
Response: Thanks for your great feedback. It's good that everything went to plan and that the whole experience of buying your new timer workshop has been a good one.. Regards, Robin
Local councils have a job on ensuring that monstrosities and carbuncles (as Prince Charles would say) are not built and that any new buildings or structures being constructed meet certain standards. This include all aspects of the home as well as all garden buildings. However, in general terms most garden sheds, summer houses and garden workshops are exempt from planning laws provided they meet some basic specifications.
The most common one which garden sheds can fall foul of is the height of the building which needs to be less than 2.5m if the shed is closer than 2m away from the boundary. On most garden shed ranges they will be below that and on many cheap shed ranges they can be less than 1.5m (5ft) which will be good if you are a midget. However good shed makers will ensure a good height for their buildings.
Normally on garden workshops these will have extra height so that there is plenty of space for working in and can be quite tall. On some Platinum garden workshops the standard height is normally under 2.5m but if you have a requirement for it to be lower this can be done. You can find more details about planning restrictions on online.
Other aspects which the local council will cover is building regulations and these are to ensure that the building being constructed will meet all required standards for the purpose for which the building will be used. This also applies to garden sheds, workshops and summerhouses if they are going to be used for human habitation. If you have a garden shed or summerhouse where your children sleep on an odd occasion then that should not be a problem. However if someone is to live in your shed then you would need building control approval and you should contract your local council for guidance as to what should be done.
In some areas of the country many home owners have been renting their sheds and out houses for people to sleep in without obtaining permission or meeting the required standards. And these councils have been appointing people, whose job is to spy on shed owners, and to catch these people out. Hounslow, near Heathrow, is an area where many people are being caught and the residents of these sheds are being thrown out onto the street.
Whilst I agree with the logic about sheds and summerhouses meeting certain standards I do feel sorry for the people who have to resort to sheds for shelter because they have no where else to live. What are the council doing to help these people? Nothing ? they don't care ? they have done their job and are quite happy to be 'jobs worth'. If it was their children having to live in these sheds or summerhouses would they take the same view? I don't think so!
To my astonishment I have read that Slough council not only do they employ people to spy on their residents but have actually hired a 'spy' plane with a thermal imaging camera to build up a 3d plan of the town. As the plane flies over the town the plane is able to pick up the heat from anyone living in any out buildings and is logged onto their main computer. From this scan they are then able to send officers around to physically check the buildings. The cost for the council comes to about £24,000 and, bearing in mind the shortage of funds for projects because of the recession, should be questioned as to whether this is the right use of rate payers monies.
The council did find many sheds being rented out by unscrupulous landlords and they were fined with their tenants being evicted. If the tenant did not move out they were charged £200 per day. I have to agree that rogue landlords renting out unsafe buildings to vulnerable people needs to be stopped but on the other hand responsible home owners allowing their children, friends or relatives to occupy their sheds or summerhouse should be overlooked, or at the very least helped.
The shortage of homes is a problem for many areas of the country and local councils need to work with their local community to help their vulnerable people. However the cutbacks from central government is making this a very difficult nut to crack. I'm just pleased that I'm not one of these unfortunate people ? I do feel so very sorry for their predicament.