Can councils destroy illegal outbuildings?

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by davidc123, 24 Jun 2014.

  1. davidc123

    davidc123

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    My neighbour has decided to build a large building in his back garden without any planning permission or discussion with me. It covers about 50% of his garden, is right up against the boundaries, is approaching 4m high (and still getting taller), and has windows facing back towards the house.

    I only moved in recently and I've discovered that about 10 years ago he bought two houses nearby, and did exactly the same thing there - illegally built a 2 story outbuilding without any permission. The council ordered him to destroy it, but he didn't and eventually was given a very large fine.

    I don't know if the building was destroyed in the end, but it's clear he's planning on doing exactly the same thing here. I don't care about any fines he receives, i just want the thing destroyed, so can anyone advise whether councils are able to destroy illegal buildings in gardens if the owner refuses to do it?

    Thanks
     
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  3. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Ultimately they could order it be demolished and he would have to foot the bill but that said the council would need to weigh up whether it was really in the interest of the public to be taking it that far, as it could be potentially costly for the council too.
     
  4. davidc123

    davidc123

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    So they'll always depend on the owner footing the bill? I've read that violations of planning law aren't usually criminal offences, so there's really nothing stopping him just refusing?
     
  5. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    If he refuses to do anything then ultimately they could start legal proceedings. If demolition was ordered by the courts then the council would try and make him liable for the costs for the demolition (if he refused to demolish it himself) a fine and legal costs. But that's about a 3 year process and assuming it even got that far, which it probably wouldn't.

    eg http://www.barnet.gov.uk/news/article/343/couple_ordered_to_demolish_illegal_extension
     
  6. davidc123

    davidc123

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    Ok great, thanks for the info, much appreciated
     
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  8. tony1851

    tony1851

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    Why are you so bothered about it to have it destroyed?
     
  9. davidc123

    davidc123

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    Besides the fact that no one wants their garden to be overlooked, i just spent my life savings on buying this place, and the garden is a big selling point. Now i've got this big ugly building overlooking it which will affect the value, so i'm losing money i put into it.
     
  10. AronSearle

    AronSearle

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    Welcome the pyramid scheme that is the UK housing market.
     
  11. tony1851

    tony1851

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    Assuming it falls outside the permitted development limits for curtilage buildings, the first thing to do would be to bring it to the LPAs attention.

    But be aware that only a council can take enforcement action, and it is entirely at their discretion whether or not to do so. This is because a council can be liable for costs if the appellant wins. Even if the appellant fails, he could apply to the courts on a point of law, and then costs really start to stack up.

    Any enforcement action has to be in the public interest; a council should also not take action for a 'minor or technical breach', where no harm has occurred. You say the windows overlook your garden, but surely the bedroom windows of the neighbour's house overlook your garden, and vice versa?

    If you want to stand a chance of having anything done about it, you need to be tactful with the local planning enforcement people and hopefully get them on board.
     
  12. cjard

    cjard

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    Also, there are certain circumstances where ridiculously tall buildings can be built adjacent your boundary under permitted development..
     
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