I’ve currently been watching a factual programme on the BBC about the work of the local authority planning officers and their day to day decisions which they are making which affects their local communities. These decisions can involve large scale planning developments right down to small garden sheds and fences. They also are involved in retrospective planning applications where permission was not obtained when required.
In a recent episode, a homeowner had been reported to the council about the size of his large steel garden shed, if you can call it that as it was nearly 13ft tall. This shed was used to house his collection of large vehicles for which he had a passion. In the front of the shed in his garden was a large lean-to structure which again was nearly 13ft tall. Personally, I think it did look too large for the garden.
The main reason for the objection was that the owner’s shed backed onto a road at the side of his property. Normally you would not need planning permission if your garden shed is more than 2m (6ft 6in) from the boundary. As the shed was going to be built at the side of the house away from the main entrance, he had assumed everything would be alright. However, the public road at the side also needed to be taken into account and this is where the objectors thought they had a case. They also were concerned that the garden shed was going to be used for commercial use as the homeowner was a truck mechanic.
The planning officers came to view the shed before any decision was taken. As there were so many local objectors a retrospective planning application had to be made and the decision would be taken by members of the council. The location of the shed was noted and, as this was, more or less, hidden from the road this had to be taken into account.
In discussions with planning officers about the case was raised that the shed was not affecting anyone else and the reason they had bought the house was because of the large ground which came with it. They pointed out that the home owner’s hobby was his collection of large vehicles, a little different to most. This collection included a large truck, an articulated vehicle which was being converted into a camper van and a UniMog, a multi-purpose auto four wheel drive large vehicle capable of crossing the Sahara desert.
At the council meeting, the applicant’s wife spoke on his behalf as applicants were allowed 3 minutes to plead their case. She pleaded that she was a great believer in the rights of people in general and was fighting for the retention of this garden shed on the belief that everybody has the right to play in the garden with their Tonka Toys provide they are not upsetting anyone else. Even though this was a strange hobby they were doing nothing wrong with this shed.
She must have swayed them to her thoughts as the garden shed was granted retrospective planning permission much to the annoyance of some of their neighbours. This case just goes to show you need to be a little careful if there is any road or track nearby to where you want to build a garden shed. If there is then a call to the local planning office will, hopefully, they won’t be any major problem.
Many years ago one of 1st Choice Leisure Building’s customers has a similar problem. He had built his garden shed against his back fence but there was a track running through to houses alongside his rear fence. Because of this, he had to obtain planning permission, which was not a great problem, essentially a paper exercise. The location of the garden shed was visible by planning officers on the way to work just around the corner from where the shed was located.