Planners in Wendy house swoop

Angharad Holloway with daughters Eleanor, seven, and Anwen, three, in the Wendy house which needs planning permission

Angharad Holloway with daughters Eleanor, seven, and Anwen, three, in the Wendy house which needs planning permission

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

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
environment.
“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
planning permission.
“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.”

Planning permission

Oxford City Council requires that people apply for planning permission before they extend their homes or put up
outhouses.
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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Comments (15)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:53am Mon 26 May 14

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

Oxford City Council, and especially Philip Ridley - grow up.
Oxford City Council, and especially Philip Ridley - grow up. Sandy Wimpole-Smythe
  • Score: 6

10:08am Mon 26 May 14

Flamingo Lane says...

The council wouldn't have become involved had someone not made a complaint.
The council wouldn't have become involved had someone not made a complaint. Flamingo Lane
  • Score: 7

10:29am Mon 26 May 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Raise it up and put it on wheels.

Job done.
Raise it up and put it on wheels. Job done. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 7

10:52am Mon 26 May 14

rowdy says...

Yes put it on wheels like kevin macloud did then its a portable structure .
Yes put it on wheels like kevin macloud did then its a portable structure . rowdy
  • Score: 6

11:46am Mon 26 May 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

"The council has to follow the rules laid down by Government for what needs
planning permission.
"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."".......
.......I think that's the main issue here, the fact that it's in the front garden. I'm guessing, from what I can see in the photo, that the front gardens are open plan......there are no walls, or fences, so the Wendy house stands out like a sore thumb.
I can't see why they couldn't have put it in the back garden, the lack of grass shouldn't be an issue.
Even taking all that into consideration though, I think the council are going overboard. I wonder if the complainant spoke to the Holloway's prior to contacting the council.
"The council has to follow the rules laid down by Government for what needs planning permission. "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.""....... .......I think that's the main issue here, the fact that it's in the front garden. I'm guessing, from what I can see in the photo, that the front gardens are open plan......there are no walls, or fences, so the Wendy house stands out like a sore thumb. I can't see why they couldn't have put it in the back garden, the lack of grass shouldn't be an issue. Even taking all that into consideration though, I think the council are going overboard. I wonder if the complainant spoke to the Holloway's prior to contacting the council. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 5

1:08pm Mon 26 May 14

CtrlAltTab says...

Again the Council refuse to use their own discretion!
I have dealt with the Council on numerous things, and they will stick to the letter of the law, accept when it suits them, I have been trying to get the to deal with something for the past 2 odd years, but they keep moving the goal posts to suit themselves.

I seriously think this Country is not only becoming the laughing stock of the world, but also the worse place to live, its a shame I can't move abroad, if I could afford it, I'd be gone!
Again the Council refuse to use their own discretion! I have dealt with the Council on numerous things, and they will stick to the letter of the law, accept when it suits them, I have been trying to get the to deal with something for the past 2 odd years, but they keep moving the goal posts to suit themselves. I seriously think this Country is not only becoming the laughing stock of the world, but also the worse place to live, its a shame I can't move abroad, if I could afford it, I'd be gone! CtrlAltTab
  • Score: 0

4:14pm Mon 26 May 14

Vocman says...

The City Council say they must follow the rule of law
However when filling in children's swimming pools at Hinksey, they themselves did not apply for planning permission.
Neither did they follow the correct procedure and have the soil they used tested for toxic elements before transporting it from Blackbird Leys. I understand it has since been found to contain asbestos, but no warning signs are in place to inform parents of this.
However, I don't expect to see them prosecuting themselves any time soon, or any interest from the HSE (or Oxford Mail, come to that).
The City Council say they must follow the rule of law However when filling in children's swimming pools at Hinksey, they themselves did not apply for planning permission. Neither did they follow the correct procedure and have the soil they used tested for toxic elements before transporting it from Blackbird Leys. I understand it has since been found to contain asbestos, but no warning signs are in place to inform parents of this. However, I don't expect to see them prosecuting themselves any time soon, or any interest from the HSE (or Oxford Mail, come to that). Vocman
  • Score: 9

4:26pm Mon 26 May 14

OxfordSteve says...

I dread to think the crazy world we would be living in if the planning regulations were loosened and our beloved Oxford was turned into a shanty town.

This is an example of good work from our council.

We can't let people run wild with their properties, the same rules have to be used for everyone to protect our society.
I dread to think the crazy world we would be living in if the planning regulations were loosened and our beloved Oxford was turned into a shanty town. This is an example of good work from our council. We can't let people run wild with their properties, the same rules have to be used for everyone to protect our society. OxfordSteve
  • Score: -4

6:37pm Mon 26 May 14

Isawyoucoming says...

OxfordSteve wrote:
I dread to think the crazy world we would be living in if the planning regulations were loosened and our beloved Oxford was turned into a shanty town.

This is an example of good work from our council.

We can't let people run wild with their properties, the same rules have to be used for everyone to protect our society.
Shanty town too late already happening. so called sheds the size of houses in certain parts of headington.
[quote][p][bold]OxfordSteve[/bold] wrote: I dread to think the crazy world we would be living in if the planning regulations were loosened and our beloved Oxford was turned into a shanty town. This is an example of good work from our council. We can't let people run wild with their properties, the same rules have to be used for everyone to protect our society.[/p][/quote]Shanty town too late already happening. so called sheds the size of houses in certain parts of headington. Isawyoucoming
  • Score: 7

9:40am Tue 27 May 14

Geoff Roberts says...

The council have been completely ignoring some laws since they were passed.

I agree with someone above, sadly I suspect someone complained.
The council have been completely ignoring some laws since they were passed. I agree with someone above, sadly I suspect someone complained. Geoff Roberts
  • Score: 2

9:41am Tue 27 May 14

Geoff Roberts says...

Also, apparently it's OK to ruin Port Meadow but not OK to have a Wendy house in your front garden.
Also, apparently it's OK to ruin Port Meadow but not OK to have a Wendy house in your front garden. Geoff Roberts
  • Score: 7

5:11pm Tue 27 May 14

wend says...

Definitely get a set of wheels to plonk it on. Sorted!
Definitely get a set of wheels to plonk it on. Sorted! wend
  • Score: 0

7:12pm Tue 27 May 14

H.J.Harris says...

This is the same Council that banned a Passion Play .............. what a shower.
This is the same Council that banned a Passion Play .............. what a shower. H.J.Harris
  • Score: 1

7:27pm Tue 27 May 14

Niko Bellic says...

Vocman wrote:
The City Council say they must follow the rule of law
However when filling in children's swimming pools at Hinksey, they themselves did not apply for planning permission.
Neither did they follow the correct procedure and have the soil they used tested for toxic elements before transporting it from Blackbird Leys. I understand it has since been found to contain asbestos, but no warning signs are in place to inform parents of this.
However, I don't expect to see them prosecuting themselves any time soon, or any interest from the HSE (or Oxford Mail, come to that).
They didn't fill in any pools, they filled in and turfed the sunken concrete area. Unless you think children have been swimming in thin air!?
[quote][p][bold]Vocman[/bold] wrote: The City Council say they must follow the rule of law However when filling in children's swimming pools at Hinksey, they themselves did not apply for planning permission. Neither did they follow the correct procedure and have the soil they used tested for toxic elements before transporting it from Blackbird Leys. I understand it has since been found to contain asbestos, but no warning signs are in place to inform parents of this. However, I don't expect to see them prosecuting themselves any time soon, or any interest from the HSE (or Oxford Mail, come to that).[/p][/quote]They didn't fill in any pools, they filled in and turfed the sunken concrete area. Unless you think children have been swimming in thin air!? Niko Bellic
  • Score: 1

10:05pm Tue 27 May 14

hawk_eye says...

I've personally swam in the thin air you describe and when I did it had water in it ! These pools have fell into disrepair because of the cost of the up keep. The fact that the CIty Council had the go ahead from the County Council to act as the waste authority "in this instance" is a complete farce the material placed into the disused pools at Hinksey Park contains contamination above residential thresholds,it also contains brick ,concrete,metal and glass .it may also contain asbestos and asbestos related material all originating from the pool being built at Blackbird Leys. The City Council also never had planning permission to dump the contaminated waste into the pools at Hinksey and have since made a retrospective planning application to itself for permission so that this contaminated material can stay where it is . How democratic is that !! It would seem both City Council and County Council can do as they please while hounding the public at every opportunity.
I've personally swam in the thin air you describe and when I did it had water in it ! These pools have fell into disrepair because of the cost of the up keep. The fact that the CIty Council had the go ahead from the County Council to act as the waste authority "in this instance" is a complete farce the material placed into the disused pools at Hinksey Park contains contamination above residential thresholds,it also contains brick ,concrete,metal and glass .it may also contain asbestos and asbestos related material all originating from the pool being built at Blackbird Leys. The City Council also never had planning permission to dump the contaminated waste into the pools at Hinksey and have since made a retrospective planning application to itself for permission so that this contaminated material can stay where it is . How democratic is that !! It would seem both City Council and County Council can do as they please while hounding the public at every opportunity. hawk_eye
  • Score: 0

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