Height of garage roof on St Albans garage ‘harmful to Green Belt’

Joe Carter by his converted garage

Joe Carter by his converted garage - Credit: Archant

An outgoing council contractor could be forced to pull down an outbuilding on his property which planners maintain was built too high.

But Joe Carter, of Radlett Road, Colney Street, lives opposite a huge industrial estate packed with large buildings, many of them unoccupied, and cannot understand why there is such a fuss about his building which was a garage on which he has put a pitched roof.

Joe, 67, who has been responsible for the district council’s repairs and maintenance service in the southern area for some years, believes the council is being petty in light of the growth of the Parkbury industrial estate opposite his home.

He is also situated close to the M25 motorway.

He said: “The industrial estate was open countryside when I first lived there but they are really ploughing through there now. The council says my building is 1.2ms high which I dispute but opposite me things are going up which are 40-60ft high.

“When they put up the industrial estate they tore down trees and countryside. All day I suffer from light and all night I have noise. I have also got the din from the motorway and all I want to do is secure the future for my grandson who would live in the outbuilding.”

He added: “They are saying my building is 1.2ms too high but if they are worried about that, there is a large concrete garage in the front garden and I will take that down.”

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He also pointed out that his neighbour, who would be the only one who could see the outbuilding, thought the council was being ridiculous.

A decision was deferred by last month’s planning referrals committee pending the outcome of Joe’s appeal against the enforcement notice which was served on December 2.

St Albans council’s interim head of planning, Simon Rowberry, said: “We are taking enforcement action because this roof, built on a property in the Green Belt, exceeds the measurements specified in the original planning permission for the site. The roof is a disproportionate addition over and above the size of the original building and as such is considered to be inappropriate development in the Green Belt.

“There is also a loss of openness of the Green Belt which is contrary to the St Albans District Local Plan Review 1994 and the aims of the National Planning Policy Framework.”

He explained that the enforcement notice had been served last December requiring Mr Carter to reduce the height of the roof. Prior to that, the Planning Inspectorate turned down two retrospective applications by the owner for planning permission for the newly-built roof.

Mr Rowberry went on: “The Planning Inspectorate considered the roof was inappropriate development in the Green Belt and harmful to openness of the Green Belt.

The owner has now submitted a third application for retrospective planning permission which was referred to the council’s planning referrals committee for consideration on February 24.

“The committee deferred the matter because the outstanding enforcement notice is currently being appealed by the owner to the Planning Inspectorate.”