Beds, Herts & Bucks

Barton-Le-Clay house can keep 'extension' due to unclear demolition order

Mr Shah's house in Barton-le-Clay before (above) and after
Image caption Syed Raza Shah said the house was an "eyesore" when he bought it in 2008 (top) and believed his building work improved the property

A seven-bedroom home with an "inappropriate" extension will no longer be demolished after an "unclear" council order was deemed invalid.

Central Bedfordshire Council issued an enforcement order on Syed Raza Shah's house in Barton-Le-Clay over an alleged breach of planning permission.

A planning inspector quashed the notice due to "insufficient clarity".

The council said it was "surprised and disappointed" at the decision.

Mr Shah was granted permission to increase the floor space of the house by about 45% in 2011.

The council said the work equated to more like a 200% increase, refused retrospective planning permission last August and said he must demolish the property.

It said Mr Shah's alterations amounted to a "new dwelling" and was an "inappropriate development" in what is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

'Ecstatic'

Mr Shah said he had made "some minor adjustments" but had "kept within the parameters".

At an appeal against the demolition, he argued the alleged breach on the order - that he had built a new house - had not happened because he had just extended the existing building.

Planning inspector, Mr Ghafoor, agreed this was the case due to the existence of the original building's internal and external walls and so the order was invalid.

"[The enforcement notice] does not specify with sufficient clarity the alleged breach of planning control," his report said.

"[A notice] must tell the recipient fairly what has been done wrong."

Mr Shah's appeal against refusal of planning permission was also allowed by the Planning Inspectorate.

Mr Ghafoor said he was satisfied the design and external appearance of the altered house did not have a "materially harmful visual impact".

Mr Shah said he was "ecstatic" that "justice has prevailed".

"I did do a little bit extra but not as much as I was accused of," he said.

A council spokeswoman said it had a duty to ensure all local development was "carefully managed".

"We served the notice because we believed the work undertaken breached planning law," she added.

"We have investigated the robustness of the decision but have been advised that there are no grounds to challenge the conclusions."

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