Retrospective Planning Permission for Raised Decking

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Ok, thank you for all your support. We wrote back to the planning officer last night to say that we feel that it is within permitted development due to the height being level with the highest adjacent ground. So hopefully we'll see what they say. We've had no communication back yet regarding anything. We are going to ring them tomorrow to discuss. I've managed to get a couple of photos this morning before I left, it's not looking its best but not much does this time of year. What you can not see is that the edge of the decking is level with the patio on the higher side.

Hopefully you can see the only thing it's overlooking is a road and unless the commuters that queue there between Monday to Friday at 7:45 to 8:15 complain there should not be an issue with privacy. I think this all started when someone reported that we had put up a fence on council land (the fence in the first picture) and the planning officer noticed the decking from the road at the same time. The fence is another point of contention because they are saying its on council land when our deeds show that our land adjoins the public highway. The fence is over 1.5M from the path and behind a row of trees, we have e-mailed the planning officer saying that according to our deeds our land adjoins the highway and could they please let us know where they believe the boundary is. Right now they've just told us to take it down and move it to our land without any indication of what they believe our land to be. The joys!!!!

I'll let you know if what they say about the decking.

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As Tony says it's the highest part of the ground. As long as your decking (in this instance at the point furthest away from where the photo is taken) is no higher than 300mm then you will be fine.

They won't let you know where the boundary is, they will put the onus on you to prove that.
Unfortunately what your deeds say is often of little help in cases such as this, other things can come into play such as easements, what is on the ground physically, witness statements etc etc. This is why boundary disputes can get so horribly expensive. Perhaps the land is yours but there is a right of way there and it can't be fenced??? I am just guessing.

You might have to get onto google and document the history and gather sworn witness statements so as to build your case. I would be wary of fighting any claims against you until you have good historical evidence and witnesses. Try to keep an open mind over it and don't just rely on deeds.
Well, if there's an easement, then it's recorded in the deeds, so not so useless after all.
Yes, fair point Nakajo. But there is a lot more to it than deeds, as this case appears to show:

The people involved paid a heavy price for relying solely on their deeds it seems:

'We’ve felt driven off our land - even if it is a couple of metres - but its the principle that counts.

'We had paperwork showing our land went down to the old fence.'

His wife Jacqueline said: 'I could not understand how the deeds were wrong.

'This house has been here for 100 years, but the deeds are not worth the paper they are printed on.'

Neighbour and former parish councillor Mike McKenna added: 'The boundary is marked out on the deeds and it is a mystery to me how it got to this stage.'
After no response via e-mail we rang the council this morning and we have had a very different perspective laid out over the phone. First of all the decking. They agree that the "structure" is within permitted development of the height restrictions (Thanks you very much) BUT (and there is always a but) they feel it still requires planning permission because it has had an "impact on the context given the height of the structure". They say that if we applied for planning permission then we would "probable" be granted it because there is no impact on privacy and it is in the middle of our garden. So I’m now really lost because I do not really know what I’m apply for and what area of the planning restrictions I’m breaking, if any.

Also on the fence they are now agreeing with us that the fence is on our land (which is a major change of heart from the letter) but they are now saying it is adjacent to the highway so needs to be no more than 1m high. We pointed out the fact that the fence is over 1.5m back from the path and behind a row of trees and their response was, "what trees, oh there are some bushes on the picture" (there are 5 trees about 60ft high in front of the fence).

So I’m a little lost with this. The fact that we seem to be getting mixed messages that are fundamentally different to the letter and some vagueness as to the issue I’m really concerned that we could be heading into a long drawn-out situations for no reason at all. We want to go back tonight with an e-mail that at least firms up the land dispute and raise some questions regarding the decking and the "adjacent to highway reference" but in terms of the decking i'm not sure they have a valid argument.
They agree that the "structure" is within permitted development of the height restrictions (Thanks you very much) BUT (and there is always a but) they feel it still requires planning permission because it has had an "impact on the context given the height of the structure".

Absolute nonsense. There is NO condition in the legislation regarding privacy from raised decking; the only provision is in the height stipulation, which you clearly comply with. They cannot "feel" it needs planning permission - whether it DOES or does NOT is clearly stipulated in the p.d. rules.
The council cannot set its own policy considerations if those 'policies' contradict the permitted development rules.
The view has been taken previously that all parts of a deck need to be 300mm or less above ground level - at all points. This approach means decks which are higher than 300mm at some points would not be PD. Some councils apply this approach and it has been taken by Inspectors at appeal- see this decision-


Paragraph I of Part 1 states that ‘for the purposes of Part 1 – “raised” in relation to a platform means a platform with a height greater than 300mm’. That statement is not qualified or linked back to Article 1(3). I interpret paragraphs E.1(g) and I as meaning that a platform would not be PD if its height would exceed 300mm at any point in relation to adjoining ground. Adding weight to that assessment, Article 1(3) requires consideration of the context. Part 1 of the GPDO was amended in 2008 to, amongst other matters, expressly remove raised platforms from PD. It would defeat the purpose of inserting E.1(g) if platforms could be constructed to any height whatsoever, in order to level sloping land, so long as they are only 300mm above the highest part of the adjacent surface.

Other decisions take the contrary view- it's not really pinned down for certain in the legislation or the technical guidance so remains up for discussion (despite this restriction coming into force in 2008!)
Thinking about what they actually said, they are trying to say that because the gradient of the ground is so steep that even though we are within 30cm at the highest point, the context of the land (the gradient) means that the reference point should not be the highest point. I think they are enacting the bold letters below which basically caveats the rest of the text.

2 Interpretation - (2) Unless the context otherwise requires, any reference in this Order to the height of a building or of plant or machinery is to be construed as a reference to its height when measured from ground level; and for the purposes of this paragraph “ground level” means the level of the surface of the ground immediately adjacent to the building or plant or machinery in question or, where the level of the surface of the ground on which it is situated or is to be situated is not uniform, the level of the highest part of the surface of the ground adjacent to it.

If the gradient was less then I think what people have been stating is correct but in our case I think they are asking for planning.

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