MANY will think today’s story revealing that a couple have been told they need council permission to put a Wendy house in their garden is officialdom gone mad.

Craig and Angharad Holloway were stunned when an Oxford City Council planning officer said they needed planning permission for the five-foot tall structure.

They now face a bill of up to £170 to apply for retrospective permission and the prospect of taking down the Wendy house if permission is refused.

It shows the massive array of laws and regulations that councils have to work through and the cost to the public purse of going through mountains of bureaucracy.

Goodness knows what the taxpayers’ bill could be were the matter to end up going through the courts, with all the attendant council officer time.

It seems we increasingly live in a society where we need to seek permission for a dizzying number of simple things, a culture that is making many not bother in the first place for fear of being crushed by red tape.

Of course, even small things like Wendy houses can be an eyesore in certain front gardens.

But we hope the council applies its discretion in other cases, particularly when garden sheds, Wendy houses and other innocuous structures cause no trouble to neighbours.