Retrospective Planning Permission for Raised Decking

5 Dec 2017
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United Kingdom
Hi all, wasn't sure to raise a new thread or comment on an old one but as the last time this topic was covered was about 3 years ago I thought I’d go for a new thread. I need some advise regarding applying for retrospective planning permission.

To the rear of our property we have two areas of garden, one a large patio adjoining the back of the house and a second area that is in a dip (10ft below the patio) of about equal size to the garden. These areas were separated by a panel fence that the previous owners put up, they also left the lower area to go to ruin after a tree had fell probable about 3/4 years ago. Soon after we moved in last year we cleared the lower section and removed the fence to integrate the two areas into a single area. We then thought it would be nice to partially extend the patio using decking out over the lower area.

We have recently received a enforcement notice from the council saying we need to apply for retrospective planning permission. This, as many have said in the past, I was not aware of because I did not realise it would break planning permissions. They do not say what aspect it fails but looking at the planning regs I think it's failing due to how high the decking is "raised". The decking is about 2M long and as such is about 10ft high at the end. Due to location it does not invade anyone’s privacy, I think the planning authority have noticed it when they were inspecting a secondary issue regarding the placing of a fence on our boundary with the highway.

I think my questions is, how likely is it that retrospective planning permission will be granted? And what could i do to impove my chances of a successful application. I would be devastated if we are required to demolish the structure has its been one of our passionate ideas since we moved in.

Any ideas welcome
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If it does not overlook any neighbouring properties then it will probably be approved.
I'm sure I read that as long as the other end isn't 30cm higher than the patio then it's fine.
As above.

If one bit is no higher than 300mm above the existing ground, and the property has not had it's permitted development rights removed, then advise the council that it is permitted development and you do not need planning permission. Invite them to state why it needs permission and if need be you will refute any enforcement action.

If you do need permission, and if standing on the deck you can see over the fence into the neighbour's garden and windows then permission will probably be refused.
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I'm sure I read that as long as the other end isn't 30cm higher than the patio then it's fine.
also assuming the patio is at the natural ground height in its own right so not adding to the height
Thank you all for your responses. I'm beginning to second guess what the issue is now.The patio is at natural height, it's just that there is a large drop off down to the lower part of the garden which we have extended the decking over to form a balcony.

The enforcement order states the following;

"Following investigation, a raised decking area has been erected centrally within the curtilage of the dwelling. From a site visit it is noted that the primary garden area of the dwelling is raised, with the land to the north of the site sloping downwards. The raised decking extends to the north, and is raised substantially above ground level to the northern section of the curtilage. Given the context of the site, and the size of the erected decking, it is considered that this exceeds the limitations as specified within the General Permitted Development order. It is therefore unauthorised........"

What I’m confused about is we had a number of quotes from Builders / Gardeners / Fencers / Landscapers and not one mentioned that this would apply. I read through the GPD order and the only thing I see is the 30cm height issue that we might be exceeding. The context bits worries me because it's an all wooded structure (nothing elaborate) in a wooded area and the word "context" sounds very open to interpretation.

Does anyone have any insight as to what the problem may be? I do not want to apply for planning permission if it's not needed, but I do not fully understand what the issue is that i need to address..
It will be the height, you should never assume tradesmen are qualified to advise on planning matters. I still don't quite follow what was existing and what has been done. Is any part of the new decking within 30cm of what was the existing ground level? This is the crux. That is what you need to establish. Got some before and after photos?
As long as a part of your decking is no more than 30cm above the natural ground level, it doesn't matter about the height-difference elsewhere, even if there is any overlooking.
DON'T fall into the trap of applying for planning permission - they will take your £172 and then issue a refusal.
Leave the ball in their court, but if they do issue an Enforcement Notice, you would have to appeal it otherwise the Notice takes legal effect at the specified time.
Wouldn't it be nice to have something to work with. Someone should invent a device that makes a picture of what you are looking at.

Anyhoo. As I envisage it we have a patio then a 10 foot drop down to the main garden. Chances are that patio has been raised and levelled to create the flat platform to build the patio on and previously it would have been one continuous slope down to the garden.
Its possible they are saying its also too large (width/length) to be within permitted development.

Are we 100% sure about the "any part being below 30cm", it just seems that a set of steps would comply?

with regard to trades people having planning knowledge... You can't realistically expect them to know or check.
The natural ground level drops down steeply 10ft from the "upper garden" to the "lower garden". We have built 2m of decking straight out from the upper garden as a balcony on stilts so that it overhangs the lower garden. This is level with the upper garden but by the time you get 2m out the end of the decking is 10ft above the lower garden. So I guess what their saying is that because the end of the balcony is 10ft above the natural level of the lower garden that is in fact "raised decking" 10ft high and obviously greater then 30cm.

Regarding the tradesman, even though not all would know the application of the permissible planning I this case, I would of hoped that with the amount of times different people have come around over the past 18 months and giving us ideas that one would of thought of it. Oh well.
Are there rules around size of decking? I know there are issues with permiable surfaces at the front of houses but i do not think we have a surface water issue. The garden is quite large and this is a small % of the overall size of the garden (<50%). Its also not attached to the house so it is not an extension.

Sadly I have not got a picture from the lower garden only from the top which doesn't show anything helpful and it's been a little dark by the time i get home to take one the last few days.

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