Dad ordered to tear down sunroom or face £50k fine despite no complaints

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James Bevis and his partner Louise have been told they needed planning permission from their council, four years after they built the structure. The dad, 52, reportedly forked out £3,000 and erected the sunroom himself, as a space for the couple’s teenage daughters to spend time with their pals. But planners from the local authority say the building has been placed too far forward from the front of their home in Midlothian, Scotland.

Edinburgh Live reports that the Scottish Government Reporter has backed planners after the couple lodged an appeal against the council’s enforcement notice with Scottish Ministers.

In his ruling, the Reporter said that he was not able to grant planning permission for the addition to the house and could not overturn the enforcement notice issued by the council because it had been built without permission, breaching the rules.

And he dismissed the couple’s argument that another solution should be sought by the council instead of demanding the demolition of the addition.

He said: “I was able to observe during my site visit that the garage and sunroom would not be classed as permitted development.

“Planning permission is therefore required for the building and in its absence, the garage and sunroom represent a breach of planning control.

“Section 5 of the enforcement notice sets out the steps required to be undertaken to remedy this breach, which is effectively to restore the land to its condition before the breach took place. In my view, these steps are not excessive and there are no less onerous steps which would remedy the breach of control.”

Joiner James said the sunroom – as the council have described it – was added to the garage as a space for the couple’s twin teenage girls to spend time with friends.

The family live in an end-terrace house which has a large side garden rather than space at the back.

They built the garage and sunroom in the side garden, with the small sunroom extending slightly forward from the front of the house. In the enforcement notice issued by the council it argues that allowing the building to remain would undermine public confidence in planning policy.

However, a planning officer’s report into the original planning application acknowledged no complaints or objections to the building were lodged by neighbours. Instead, they received two letters of support from people living across the road.

The council notice said: “The council’s planning authority has deferred taking enforcement action due to the circumstances relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“However, that situation has now improved and the unauthorised building that houses both developments now needs to be removed.

“Its continuing presence on the land is in conflict with the democratic, planning, decision making process and would thereby undermine the credibility of the planning system and public trust in its outcomes.”

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