Planning Dispute Goes To Appeal

Council chambers at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

Council chambers at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

A St Mary’s homeowner is appealing against a decision to stop them using a wooden building in their garden as a lawful residence.

The Council has also ordered them to remove the structure.

In November, the Authority rejected an application by the owners of The Chalet, in the grounds of White Cottage at Porthloo, for a certificate to allow its lawful use as a separate residence.

The structure had been lived in by the owners’ daughter between 2006 and 2012, but at the time, Senior Manager for Planning Craig Dryden said there were no utility bills or council tax records to show that it had been an independent dwelling.

He said a certificate could only be issued if it had been lived in continuously for more than ten years.

The matter returned to councillors in February after the applicants’ agent said the Council had “made a mistake,” and they only had to prove that the dwelling had been occupied continuously for four years.

It was debated in a private session with the public excluded because of legal issues.

The minutes of that meeting now show the Authority was concerned that granting the lawful use certificate could lead to a house being built on the site.

Mr Dryden said that due to the location of the property, it would “very likely” result in the house being valued highly and out of the reach of most local people.

Members refused the certificate. They also agreed to stop further residential occupation of the building.

But the applicants say they believe it is now too late to take enforcement action and that the steps required to comply with the notice are excessive.

The Planning Inspector is unlikely to make a decision on the case until the summer.