Homeowner who ignored Council planners loses appeal to keep unauthorised development

12th October 2020

An owner of a property in Chorleywood has lost their planning appeal to extend their garden into an open area of grassed amenity land. In August 2019 the owner in question attempted to enclose the amenity land which was adjacent to his house. Despite warnings from the Planning department that this constituted a material change of use requiring planning permission, the owner continued and altered the ground levels, laid hard-surfacing and erected fencing.

Whilst attempts were made to remedy the breach through negotiation the owner continued to develop the land against Council advice. Following an unsuccessful planning application the Planning department was left with no choice but to serve an enforcement notice against the unauthorised works. The Council was of the opinion that the amenity area was an important feature which contributed to the overall open and spacious character of the area and thus its loss would be unacceptable.

The owner appealed against the notice on various grounds, but they were all dismissed by The Planning Inspectorate with the notice upheld. A copy of the decision is here.

The service of an enforcement notice is a last resort, as the Council will attempt to work with landowners to resolve planning issues. However, where negotiation breaks down, the Council must consider the impact and harm of the planning breach. In this case the breach was considered harmful and thus the enforcement notice was served.

The land has predominately been altered back to its former condition as shown by the photographs below.

Cllr Steve Drury (Lead Member for Planning) stresses the importance of seeking pre-application advice first.

“The message is clear, please seek pre-application advice prior to undertaking works as the Council does have the power to require the removal of unauthorised works. Whilst Council planners aim to work with homeowners, there comes a point when greater, stronger action is required like what has been undertaken in this instance.”

Prior to works 2018


Unauthorised works 2019



Required re-instated land 2020