Decking concerns

2 Nov 2015
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United Kingdom
Hi, I'm in the process of purchasing a house on a steep hill. There is an elevated decking area in the back garden but because of the slope one side of the decking is above 30cm. I have read that anything over this would need planning permission. The solicitors have not raised any concerns about it but I don't want it to become an issue after moving in with the neighbours or council. I have attached a photo, hope that helps.
Thanks for any advice!


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The rule is that the maximum height can be no higher than 30cm above the highest existing ground level where the existing ground level is sloping. And anything beyond 4 years old is immune from enforcement action anyway.
Thanks for your reply! That's really helpful. I'm not sure how long it's been there, I'll ask the solicitors tomorrow.
Expanding on Hannah 87's query, the back of the bungalow we are thinking of buying has the floor level approx 90cm above the ground as it slopes from the front. If we just constructed a decking patio at floor level on the back it would need planning permission but what if we continued the decking around the side until it reached a point where it was lower than the 30cm limit from the ground? Would that then be Ok? And taking that concept further (and maybe into the realms of absurdity), what if that L continuation of the decking was just a single decking strip wide? It would seem to still satisfy planning insofar as the structure measured from the highest point of the natural ground level adjacent to it is <30cm? Just for clarity I understand why a planning restriction is needed - the decking at the back would not overlook any neighbours anyway - but I find this concept interesting.
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Sort of OK, in theory, but I expect if your LA pushed it I expect it could be successfully argued by them that a deck only one board wide is not really a deck that could be used and as such would be seen as the scam that it is.
I think most councils take the view that if any part of the deck is over 300mm in height, then the deck as a whole would require planning permission.

If a property has an existing deck part of which is over 300mm in height, it would be immune from enforcement action if it has been in situ for more than 4 years.

If it has been there for less than 4 years it won't be an issue unless a neighbour complains to the council. If this happens, worse case scenario would be the council requiring that the deck be removed or dropped down so that all parts are less than 300mm in height.
I think most councils take the view

They can take any view they like, it doesn't mean it's correct or lawful

Most Inspectors do as well, but as you suggest each decision is just an individual interpretation of some very poorly worded legislation.

Any decision maker might give some weight to the intention of this restriction, which is protect neighbouring amenity by setting a maximum height for decking. Interpreting the legislation in a way which permits a deck which is 300mm at one end and 3 metres high at the other, is unlikely in most cases deliver the intention of the legislation. Applying the restriction as 'no part of the decking higher than 300mm', will in general deliver the intention of the legislation.

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