Non-permanent structures/sh*ds etc. What's the law?

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#1
Sorry to start another thread about sheds.

I'm having a few snags with the council at the moment and wondered if anyone has any advice.

A few years ago I built a small 'lean-to' shelter in my garden to store my pushbike and a few garden tools under. It is basically four wooden legs with a piece of corrugated plastic on top. It's about 3x2 metres in size and sits around 2 metres high at it's tallest point. It has no walls and can be moved around easily if required.

My **** of a next door neighbour has taken a dislike to it, she has tried over the years to get me to take it down by reporting me to the District Housing Office and even our local MP. So far they have all agreed with me and do not consider it to break any rules or regulations.

This morning I received a letter from the planning department stating that I needed to submit planning permission for my 'permanent structure' or legal action would be taken against me. This came as a surprise. Clearly my neighbour has reported me to the planning department.

So where do I stand? What constitutes a 'permanent structure'? My property is a leasehold, groundfloor flat with a large garden, like I said the shelter is completely moveable, it has no walls and it's fairly small. In my opinion it is no more than a piece of garden furniture. My understanding is, if I wish to store a piece of corrugated plastic in my garden and four pieces of wood, I may do so in whatever manner or arrangement I please.

Finally I understand that if a structure has been up for over four years, they can't make you take it down. My structure has not been up that long, but my neighbour or the council have no way of proving this. Is it worth telling the planning department that I put it up over four years ago and to go swivel or shall I go down the route of attempting to prove that it is not a permanent structure?

Any advice on this matter would be much appreciated.

Also any decent (legal) revenge tactics wouldn't go a miss.
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#2
I'd build a feck off big blue and gold minaret in your garden just to piss her off - oh and don't forget to add the speaker system, allah is getting deaf....

The best advice I would give you is to become an armchair expert in planning law and your area specifics - this cuts both ways and he with the most information usually wins in matters legal....
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
ring the planners and ask them as they are usually pretty good, then tell her to feck off.

then borrow a scaffold tower and stick it in the garden with a twatty neighbour sign hung off it.

or prove its not permanent by shifting it a few feet.
 
#4
Bit of a grey area this one. It depends from council to council how they interpret the rules. Nobody has actually defind what a non-permanent structure is. My area sheds and satalight dishes require PP, but it is ignored and not enforced.
Other areas I have worked in even conservatories are considered non-pemanent, as they can be unscrewed and taken down.

Did you have this 'structure' before the **** moved in? He can't have you for blocking his right to light as that law no longer applies.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#5
The best advice I would give you is to become an armchair expert in planning law and your area specifics - this cuts both ways and he with the most information usually wins in matters legal....
This is indeed the sensible option, unfortunately whenever you try and find out what the law is regarding flats it draws a big blank.

As far as I can tell, if you live in a flat, the council can basically make it up as they go along as nothing appears to be laid down in writing.

The minaret idea is nice.
 
#6
Also any decent (legal) revenge tactics wouldn't go a miss.
Concerning your main problem, invite the planning man out and then any further complaints from your neighbour may (or will, if you play it smart) be seen as malicious.

On the fun part: Junk mail replies (where a person puts the wrong house number down accidentally) along with requests for information from the seedier gentlemen's magazine adverts give the postie a good giggle. Posties gossip too.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#8
Bit of a grey area this one. It depends from council to council how they interpret the rules. Nobody has actually defind what a non-permanent structure is. My area sheds and satalight dishes require PP, but it is ignored and not enforced.
Other areas I have worked in even conservatories are considered non-pemanent, as they can be unscrewed and taken down.

Did you have this 'structure' before the **** moved in? He can't have you for blocking his right to light as that law no longer applies.
She's lived there all her life, I reckon she must be 70 odd, she's just pissed off because she fears change and thinks she owns the street, other neighbours have had big snags with her over similar things.

Here's hoping she dies soon.
 
#9
#10
I thought you had moved to the countryside? If not, now seems a good time...?
 
#11
It's not a 'lean-to,it's a Gazebo,with a covering for inclement weather. ;-)

As such it is not a structure,and is the same as putting up a trellis,to enable the roses to climb,the reason you moved it around is to try to find the best spot for when you plant your pear tree,and the attached trellis,to espalier your pears,in the mean time,tell her you are counter sueing for harassment,and aim to get a restraining order put on her (an ASBO),see how she likes them apples (sorry,Pears).:biggrin:

I can't see any planning dept. going to bat,to prevent you keeping your 'Gazebo',in fact,why not make it bigger?
 
#12
She's lived there all her life, I reckon she must be 70 odd, she's just pissed off because she fears change and thinks she owns the street, other neighbours have had big snags with her over similar things.

Here's hoping she dies soon.
I take it your not living in an area of outstanding natural beauty or urban conservation area?
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#14
I thought you had moved to the countryside? If not, now seems a good time...?
Got a foot in both camps at the moment. Going to hang on to the London pad for a bit and see how the property market shapes up before selling. Also it means the missus can still wander aimlessly between cafes all day with the other 'prammy mammys'.

Keeps her out of trouble.
 
#15
Doesn't sound like you need permission at all - there's a fairly idiot-proof guide on the Govt Planning Portal here: Planning Portal - Do You Need Permission? Rules of thumb are: should be >1m from a boundary, <20m from the house, <20 Sq m area and <2.5m high at the eaves and <4m at highest point.

But I'd go along with Grumblegrunt's idea of unscrewing it and moving it 6 inches to the left to prove it's temporary (then put it back a week later). I've got a conservatory that's way in excess of the size for which you require planning permission, but it's not visible from anywhere and is held on by some very conspicuous bolts (thus being temporary if anyone asks). I'm hoping that it'll stay up long enough to get past the x years undetected crime test and can then become considered permanent.

In our area there's a family of travellers who have spectacularly taken the pi55 out of the planning process so I consider them to have removed any credibility the planners might have had when it comes to telling me what to do. But that's another (long) story.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#16
I take it your not living in an area of outstanding natural beauty or urban conservation area?
Just a bog standard Victorian row of terraces in Hampstead. No conservation issues on my road fortunately.
 
#17
claim you belong to a minority religious group... one who worships pushpikes.for example,. and that the structure is in fact a small shrine. any interferance with your right to worship is evidence of a hate crime, and you have evidence of continual harrassment from this neighbour who is persecuting your spiritual freedom.
 
#18
claim you belong to a minority religious group... one who worships pushpikes.for example,. and that the structure is in fact a small shrine. any interferance with your right to worship is evidence of a hate crime, and you have evidence of continual harrassment from this neighbour who is persecuting your spiritual freedom.
seriously, all youve got to do is place a statue of a small obscure deity in there and sit back and watch the paperwork fly !
 

Joker62

ADC
Book Reviewer
#19
ring the planners and ask them as they are usually pretty good, then tell her to feck off.

then borrow a scaffold tower and stick it in the garden with a twatty neighbour sign hung off it.

or prove its not permanent by shifting it a few feet.
As above, but substitute the sign for a brace of .50 Cals and let loose at her when she comes into sight :)
 
#20
Sorry to be all sensible but simply write back to the council and very politely inform them that they have been miss-informed. You have no such permanent structure. Invite them to come around and see for themselves. Then write to your neigbour letting her know that any further mischief on her part will result in you taking legal action for harrassment. Keep your letter polite and to the point.
 

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