A SHOCKED mother was threatened with an enforcement order after not applying for planning permission – for a five-foot Wendy house.
Angharad Holloway and her husband Craig put up a wooden Wendy house for their daughters earlier this month.
While Eleanor, seven, and three-year-old Anwen enjoyed playing in the tiny wooden house with their friends, Oxford City Council took a more serious view of the outbuilding.
Now the family have been told they will have to pay an estimated £170 for a retrospective application for planning permission for the play home.
Mrs Holloway, 29, said: “Someone made a complaint, and the next week I got a letter saying I’ve made an ‘unauthorised erection of an outbuilding’. I spoke to the council and the lady laughed and agreed it was ridiculous.
Council staff told Mrs Holloway, who lives in Clays Close, Marston, to email planning officers to clarify the situation.
“They told me to email, but they said that it should be fine,” she said.
But planning officer Philip Ridley replied saying that she should apply for planning permission, or she would face enforcement action.
This could include having the Wendy house taken down, a fine, or even a trip to the magistrates’ court.
Mr Ridley said in his letter: “The Wendy house requires planning permission.
“Should you choose to not apply for planning consent, the council would be obliged to consider the expediency of formal enforcement action.
“I look forward to receiving an application from you.”
Mrs Holloway, a district nurse, said: “This is ridiculous. It’s only five-feet high at the apex. It’s not on stilts or anything, it’s just a Wendy house.”
The playhouse is in the family’s front garden, which is their largest garden and the only area with grass. Their back garden is smaller and completely covered by a patio.
Mrs Holloway said: “The children in the area all play out in the front garden. It’s all in a very safe
“It’s facing our front window so that we have visual contact at all times, and it cannot be seen from the main road – it is hidden from view by trees.”
Mr Holloway purchased the
second-hand Wendy house for £90.
The council has not told Mrs
Holloway how much the retrospective planning application will cost, but online calculators estimate it will be over £170 – almost double the playhouse’s original cost.
Mrs Holloway said: “I just think this whole situation is ludicrous and I’m not really sure what
resolution there can be except for being forced into paying a
ridiculous sum of money.
“I certainly can’t risk going down the route of an enforcement order.”
Council spokeswoman Louisa Dean said: “The council has to
follow the rules laid down by
Government for what needs
“Under Government legislation it states that planning permission is required for buildings such as
garden sheds and Wendy houses, where the main garden lies to the front of the house.
“The council has acted properly in advising the owner that they need planning permission and always recommends that property owners contact the council before carrying out work so that we can advise on whether any permission is required.”
Oxford City Council requires that people apply for planning permission before they extend their homes or put up
These rules apply to sheds, greenhouses, garages and many other structures.
If the homeowner does not apply for planning permission before
building they can apply for it retrospectively, but it can be very expensive.
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