A shed with wheels is still a building

If someone wants to erect a structure, the starting point is that planning permission is needed. This is written consent from the planning department of the local authority in which the property is situated. A planning permission is usually only valid for 3 years and the planning department might impose conditions on the consent.

There are some exemptions to the requirement of obtain planning permission – one of the most widely used being the 'general permitted development' rules. Permitted development rights are a national grant of planning permission which allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application. Permitted development rights are subject to conditions and limitations to control impact and to protect local amenity.

If planning permission should have been obtained and it wasn't, the planning department can serve an enforcement notice on the property owner requiring the structure to be taken down. This is what faced a property owner in Pembrokeshire who had built a large shed in his garden to house his work tools. Unfortunately, he had built it adjacent to a 12th century ancient monument.

Rather ingeniously, the property owner put wheels on the shed and tried to argue that, in so doing, the structure was now a 'movable chattel' and not a 'building' and as such, planning permission was not required for its erection. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his argument was not accepted and the Judge said: 'A shed on wheels is still a shed.'

Property owners are therefore reminded of the importance of taking advice before they make any alterations or additions to their property. The requirement for planning permission can be complex – better to obtain advice at the outset, rather than face the stress and expense of having to remove an unauthorised structure.

To discuss this or any other property related matter, contact us.