Harpenden neighbours caught up in dispute over ‘excessive’ patio
PUBLISHED: 19:30 06 October 2015 | UPDATED: 16:12 07 October 2015
A Harpenden man is challenging an enforcement notice ordering him to remove a patio from his back garden, because he feels the demand is “excessive”.
David Leggott has launched an appeal to overturn the notice issued by St Albans district council, which took enforcement action over the excessive height and projection of his patio in Ox Lane.
Also, according to documents lodged with the communities secretary, the council considered its close proximity to a neighbouring boundary “results in loss of privacy and residential amenity previously enjoyed by their neighbours in Ox Lane.
“The development is therefore contrary to [extensions in residential areas] of the St Albans Local Plan Review 1994.”
But, in the grounds of appeal set out by Tetlow King Planning, acting on behalf of Mr Leggott, the firm contends there was no breach of local planning control rules.
Tetlow King said that the new patio replaced an older one and as the garden has a slope, the structure needed retaining walls which are taller at one end, to ensure it was level.
The firm added: “The new patio is larger than previously, extending further into the garden and infilling a section that was previously ‘cut off’ to provide a more sociable and useful space in keeping with the recent rear extension.
“No planning application has previously been submitted by the appellants for the patio.”
The structure was spotted in August last year when a compliance and monitoring officer, David Elmore, visited to check permitted extension works underway at the property.
Tetlow King said Mr Leggott and his wife were “unaware that the site visit would take place and were not home at the time [but] the landscape gardener allowed Mr Elmore access to the site”.
After seeing the new retaining wall and patio base, he wrote to Mr Leggott warning him of a “suspected breach of planning control” and advised him to apply for retrospective planning permission for the structure.
In further correspondence, Mr Elmore said as it overlooked a neighbouring property, the patio should be lowered to “eliminate” this problem.
As the Leggotts believed the patio would fall under permitted development rights, they maintained an enforcement notice was unnecessary.
Tetlow King has urged the council to “use the appeal to define its reasoning for the patio falling outside of permitted development rights”.
Removing the structure from the land, and all rubble and other material as outlined in the notice would be “unreasonable”, the firm added.
The appeal is being dealt with by written representations.