Monday, September 08, 2008

Garden office: planning permission denied

Planning permission is an issue all those contemplating shedworking must take into consideration before going ahead with building. But the problem is that while there are some rules set in stone, a lot depends on your local council and which officer you speak to. Here's a personal account by a reader of Shedworking (his entirely inoffensive garden office is pictured above) who quite understandably prefers to remain nameless to avoid future hassle:
"My "garden office" wasn't deemed an acceptable use under permitted development rights. As you are aware, permitted development rights are pretty straightforward, the criteria are clear. The problem comes when the local council cling onto the one thing that they can 'interpret' the way they see best. This being that a garden structure should be "incidental to the enjoyment of the main dwelling house". The contentious word being 'incidental'. By most people interpretations an office would fit quite nicely, but not so my local council. Note: the governmental planning portal doesn't not make explicit reference to garden offices.

"There seems to be a difficult game to play. Make it sound too domestic, then it might not be incidental. Make it too business like and they (my council) don't like it. They admit that it is acceptable to use a room in a house to work from home, given its original use was something else. They argue that something purpose built doesn't qualify for this dispensation. The story stands that we agreed a compromise - a "hobbies room" is acceptable! Overall, its a classic case of not joined up government."
I'd be interested to hear from readers of their own problems - or on a brighter side, positive stories - regarding obtaining the thumbs up from planners.


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