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inapottingshed

Planning permission for observatories

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Are there any general guidelines relating to construction of an observatory in a private garden? Restriction on size, height, etc. I think I read somewhere that if it was within a certain distance of a house, it is classed as an extension.

We have a southern aspect that is obscured by ash trees. The trees are just within our boundary, yet some tree hugger or other took out a preservation order on them quite a few years ago. Is there any recourse available to have the obstructions felled? They'd make for a good supply of firewood, and save the backbreaking annual leaf bagging.

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You can apply to have a TPO tree felled IF, it is deemed to be a danger to buildings/structures( eg drainage/foundations/cables etc) that already exist or the tree is found to be diseased and a possible hazard as a result eg from falling in high winds etc.

It may be worth asking about whether it could be crowned/thinned.

I think it's still approx' 2000.00 quid per tree if you're found to have felled /damaged a TPO tree plus a criminal record.

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Thanks beamish, it seems odd that a third party can take out a TPO on a tree situated on someone else's property. If only they were so keen to bag the leaves, and live in the shadows. I'll make enquiries, thanks.

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Planning, don't start me on that one. Ho, you have now...

The planning laws seem bizarre and all sorts of factors come into each individual application. I have a fibreglass dome 9" across and in my old house, a simple letter to the planning department resulted in a return letter from them to tell me I didn't need planning permission in this particular case.

That letter is crucial and keep it safe if you get one!

Without it, they could insist you take it down if someone complains about it once it's built.

When I moved 2.5 miles away under the same planning authority, to rebuild the very same observatory the story was completely different.

In this house had to have expensive full planning permission!!! Grrrr!!!

But I had to ring them to find out why as they gave no explanation.

Apparently as there is a driveway to our garages at the back of the house, and a public right of way close by, hence planning permission was now required. The rules are different for each dwelling and its particular location, so always best to get it legally sorted with the planning department BEFORE you build your observatory. Roll off roof sheds shouldn't count, but a quick letter to them as above will soon tell you that. Someone told me you shouldn't need planning permission if it's classed as a temporary building. If someone says that to you, don't believe them. My planning officer told me that there is no such thing as a temporary building. They told me even travelling fairs have to apply for temporary planning permission to erect their rides when visiting sites...Don't know how true this is, or was she stringing me a line?

Despite all the hassel, mine were quite good in working with me on mine and discussing everything resulting in an approved and legal observatory. Marvellous!

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Planning rules vary wildly from area to area, but in general if a building isn't permanently fixed to the ground it won't need planning permission unless it blocks a neighbours light or view or isn't too tall.

I've found my local planning office can be very helpful as they know all the technicalities and if a minor change means it doesn't need permission they'll point it out as this reduces their workload, a bit of self interest on their part.

John

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Local authorities - planning permission - arrrgghh :D:)

John is correct application / enforcement of planning rules do seem to vary from one local authority to another.

I fully consulted with my local planning dept. (plans, photo's etc.)before I put up my dome and got a letter saying planning permission was not required for it but this confirmation was not actually legally binding. To get absolute confirmation that planning permission is not required then a lawful development certificate is required. So I put up the dome and then received an enforcement order to remove it due to complaint regarding it's height. After several letters plus a visit the observatory by the planning enforcement officer it remains in place as it conformed to the height limit when it was erected :) The height limits and proximity to the boundary changed on the 1st October 2008, so my dome in it's current configuration would now not be allowed to be erected.

Note that for the dome the roof description + it's location on your property which ultimately defines it's allowable height that my local council used (taken as a precedent from several other councils litigation files). The structures description was taken to be that of a shed, it was not permitted to be described as garage with a dual pitched roof (higher height limit).

The case of it being a temporary structure was irrelevant.

My local authority has some Goverment guidelines here that most local authorities use as a starting point - they may help you

Planning Portal - Common Projects

Good luck, Andy

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Found this at

Naturenet: Tree Preservation Orders

Although it is possible to make TPOs on any trees, in practice they are most commonly used in urban and semi-urban settings, for example gardens and parkland. A TPO is to protect trees for the public's enjoyment. It is made for the 'amenity' of the tree or woodland, and this can include its nature conservation value but more often means its visual amenity. However, it does mean that if a tree is not visible or accessible from a public place - even slightly- a TPO cannot usually be enforced.

I would be interested if anyone could shed more light on this as I also have a problematic tree.

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TBH to avoid any problems your best bet is to contact your local council's Environment office and talk to them giving them a description and location of the tree to see if there is any record of TPO's on anything there. They'd probably want to come and check too.

Karlo

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I work as a Building Control Officer and there are indeed guidelines, like for example your not supposed to have a garden shed within 50ft of a road/pavement, one of the most critical issues is the sheds location with regards to your boundary, if within 1m it really should be fire resisting to stop the spread of fire between properties the latter being a Building Regulations matter. Have a look at the following link it should explain all you need to know.

Planning Portal - Householders Guide

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My "summer house" with opening roof is now invisible from the road following the early spring hedge growth... the garden level is about 10 feet above road level so it was only the top few feet that were visible...

You ain't seen me right :)

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My council has removed the "permitted development rights" for our estate which means just about anything (including observatory sheds) need planning permission. However, considering the neighbours down the street have built a shed on somebody else's land and the planning department has shown little interest, I am inclined not to pay too much attention to them either. My theory is it would be hard for them to prove a Pod is no more a permanent structure than my daughter's "Little Tykes" Playhouse. :)

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I work as a Building Control Officer and there are indeed guidelines, like for example your not supposed to have a garden shed within 50ft of a road/pavement, one of the most critical issues is the sheds location with regards to your boundary, if within 1m it really should be fire resisting to stop the spread of fire between properties

Well that simply means that a vast quantity/percentage of sheds in this country are likely to have violated planning law !!:)

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I went for the consnsus approach,

Mocked it up in Photoshop, and went to have a chat with the only neighbour who would be able to see it he thought it looked fine...so went ahead, when I wanted to change it a few months ago I again showed him the changes before doing anything...

Ok its white UPVc and its tucked right in the corner of the "front lawn" - the only place on the whole "plot" where I would get anything other than a straight up zenith view... due to the trees house etc...

The ammount of use its getting at the moment makes me wonder why I bothered...

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Just like tv aerials which should be no higher than the top of the chimney stack. :)

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The rule seems to be here, if noone complains, you're OK. I have two sheds (And yes, I've seen the Monty Python sketch, so don't bother :cool: ) which is in violation of the code already. My nephew is the aoning officer for the City, so he hasn't given me any trouble other than to warn me that if anyone had complained, he'd have had to order me to take both sheds down, and build on in a proper location if I wanted one.

We recently replaced the front shed with a new, vinyl one, and took down the old one and built the new one in the space of 48 hours. A few neighbours came by and told us how nice it looks. The rebuild was completely against code, but my nephew doesn't want me that mad at him.

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