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HELP - total panic over planning permission

(18 Posts)
rachelandmonty Tue 17-Jan-17 13:30:40

We live in a grade two listed house and we are very aware of our duty to look after it properly and to preserve it for future generations and to do so in keeping with the style and compliance with the council. I just thought I would say that before anyone thinks I'm trying to do some dodgy work here!

Anyway, it seems we've made a bit of an error and it's now impacting on marital bliss. My husband had a levelled concrete platform with a shed on it that he bought just before we decided to move in together and then, subsequently, to buy a new place together. We bought our lovely new (albeit Grade 2 listed) house in June and my OH sold his house to help pay for it. The buyers didn't want to pay for the shed so we said we would take it (it cost him £6k or something and he had barely ever used it so was loathe to give it away to the new buyers).

ANyway, we have the ground levelled, concreted to make a platform and the shed moved to our new property... OH had been told at the previous property (and by the builder of the groundwork) that this did not require permission and fit within permitted development.

Now the neighbours have said they 'have no choice but to report us to planning enforcement'... we've now spent a fortune on this (groundworks, shed purchase, shed moving) and we are terrified. We honestly had no idea that this might be in breach of anything at all! it's not connected to the property itself so did not imagine it was governed by the same regulations, etc. I know you may think we're idiots, but I honestly just never imagined this would be an issue.

What can we do? Is the neighbour right? Are we going to be asked to take it all down? Will the council fine us? We just got married on Saturday and with the house purchase, the wedding and the bloody shed work we've already paid for, we are seriously in the red and I am petrified!

My OH feels he's to blame because he assured me it was all fine (I never liked the shed anyway which makes it worse!), I feel awful because of the panic about the money this might all cost and now we have almost certainly ruined any chance of having an amicable relationship with our neighbours, which is just awful. I just want to sit and cry... and three days ago I was as happy as I've ever been in my life... I just want some help or advice before we do or say anything at all!

JT05 Tue 17-Jan-17 13:43:55

You can apply for retrospective planning approval. The issue may have nothing to do with your house's listing.
Friends put a large shed/ office in the garden of their new build, thinking it was under permitted development. The permitted development was not allowed due to the conservation area. They did not know, but applied to the planners and got retrospective planning permission.
I'd phone the planners, be up front and pleasant and see what happens. Worst case scenario you take it down and sell on. Hope it doesn't come to that, good luck.

unicornsIlovethem Tue 17-Jan-17 13:44:30

The General Permitted development order prevents the erection of buildings like sheds in the garden of a listed building (Article E of the 1995 Order). However, what this means is that you cannot keep the shed there without planning permission, it doesn't mean that you cannot get planning permission for it.

As a first step, it is probably worth phoning your local Council and asking to speak with a planning officer for some advice on whether or not a planning application for the shed is likely to be approved. you can then decide whether to make the planning application. In any event, this would give you 2 months before a decision will be made on the planning application.

moomin11 Tue 17-Jan-17 13:55:44

Yep definitely needs permission and the best thing to do is to submit an application asap and let your neighbours know that's what you're doing. Wait for the outcome of the application and then decide what to do. Good luck!

rachelandmonty Tue 17-Jan-17 14:10:51

Okay; but two questions- what about the grounds work? The leveling and concreting of the platform? Was that outside of permitted development too? And also, if the neighbours aren't happy (which I think we can safely assume by the fact that they're reporting us), isn't it going to be almost impossible to get permission, even retrospectively?

unicornsIlovethem Tue 17-Jan-17 14:14:08

The grounds work will also need permission.

If your neighbours are opposed it is more difficult to get planning permission but not impossible. You will need to be able to demonstrate that the development will not affect the character and appearance of the listed building. If you employ a planning consultant they may be able to help you find other listed buildings where similar development has been approved.

moomin11 Tue 17-Jan-17 14:23:30

The planners will have to assess the impact on neighbouring properties too but an objection definitely doesn't mean an automatic no.

moomin11 Tue 17-Jan-17 14:25:22

Your only other option is to just take it all down, but given the application fee is only about 170 quid I'd say it's well worth doing that first.

minipie Tue 17-Jan-17 14:36:25

The neighbours' objection won't necessarily mean you don't get permission.

There are certain kinds of objections the council will take heed of and others they won't.

For example if the neighbours can prove that the ground works and shed have impacted their light or privacy or amenity (i.e. enjoyment of their property) in a significant way then the council will listen to that.

If they just don't like the way it looks then the council will listen but ultimately will take their own view on whether it looks ok.

kirinm Tue 17-Jan-17 14:36:30

We are in a conservation area and didn't need planning for our shed subject to it being less than 2.5m high. We sought PP for new windows and doors and the planning officer told us there was no problem with the shed when he visited. I don't know if a listed building is different.

JT05 Tue 17-Jan-17 16:07:36

Refusal of planning permission has to be on official planning law, not just because a neighbour dislikes the look of your shed. Our friends had a campaign of objections to theirs, including the Parish Council, but they still got the planning permission. Go for it, nothing to lose, except £170!

rachelandmonty Tue 17-Jan-17 16:43:29

Oh, lovely mums net people, you have been a source of real solace today; thank you. I was about to go take a long walk off a short plank when that email came in from the neighbours this morning, so now I feel considerably less sick and considerably more hopefully that something can be done. I honestly do not want to upset anyone, and rather hope we can find a way to keep our shed, not haemorrhage more money and retain good terms with the people next door. I've emailed the council and asked for a planning consultation appointment and I will see what happens from there. Thank you all so much for taking the time to write your responses today; they have been such a lifeline.

minipie Tue 17-Jan-17 16:47:44

Have the neighbours told you what their objection to it is (ugly/size/blocks their light etc) or have they simply said you need permission and didn't get it?

rachelandmonty Tue 17-Jan-17 17:16:50

They said it was 'imposing'. At first they objected to it being orientated towards their garden, which is born out of necessity since it is wider across its frontage than it is deep, and our garden is very long but narrow, so it wouldn't fit otherwise.

We suggested building a wooden fence to replace the current wire fence to help obscure the view, but they don't want that because they like to grow things up their fence.

We suggested we could then paint it to be a neutral colour which would blend in with the other sheds (including theirs) and we thought this was the informal agreement we'd come to until this morning's email.

Our houses are on a terrace and so our buildings are at roughly the same position, and from my house the shed is a full 15m away from the nearest part of the house to it, so I don't believe it can be considered to be affecting lighting or privacy. I believe they just don't like it and know that we don't have permission - we were honest with them about it and said that we didn't realise we required it. Everything had been done in such a hurry (because my OH's house was sold and under new occupancy and we needed to get the shed out of there and placed somewhere quickly). Our plates were very full with house dramas (old house and lots of issues not picked up on the survey, including having to replace the entire central heating system) and Christmas and our wedding, so we just rushed into it and clearly didn't do our research properly, which I wholly regret.

Interestingly, though, they have a car port which, apparent from being monstrously ugly and with a cooregated roof, is approximately the same size as our shed and which, from my rear upstairs window, appears to be at an almost identical elevation. It is clearly not new, but I would like to think it would offer some basis for our permission to be granted.

AlmaMartyr Tue 17-Jan-17 17:24:52

You can always try asking the planning officers for help, round here they are quite good at giving advice. Neighbour objections doesn't automatically mean it will get rejected - my work means I see a lot of planning applications and lots go through with objections. It may also be worth contacting the parish council who can support/advise. Don't panic. I was talking to an enforcement officer recently about their criteria and he was clear that they do try to help, not penalise.

anotherdayanothersquabble Wed 18-Jan-17 09:00:41

Go round and speak to the neighbours. Assure them that you have contacted the planning authorities and will keep them informed of all progress.

Say you have been round to see the other listed properties in the area and have a good idea of what exists on other properties in tetms of size, loxations etc and will discuss this with the planners.

Say you are happy to make any reasonable consessions so that 'We can all' enjoy the gardens and hope that this will have no lasting impact on your future relations as neighbours.

BreakfastAtSquiffanys Wed 18-Jan-17 09:09:03

If they already have a shed and a car port, that makes it more likely that planning permission will be a formality rather than a problem

Kilby37 Fri 10-Feb-17 12:38:42

Hi, I'm looking for people's stories about planning for my phd research, over on the surveys/students thread here on Mumsnet. I'd be really grateful if you could take a look and consider contributing.

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