Welcome to The Leek Log, an opportunity to share news and views on business, leisure and community activities in Leek and the Staffordshire Moorlands.
If you have something to tell others about, let me know either by commenting on the blog or emailing me at david@davidcliffe.com

Thursday, 12 November 2009

How to beat the planning system

Members of the Moorlands Council Planning Applications Committee were furious yesterday afternoon when they admitted defeat to a Rudyard couple who, councillors said, have 'beaten the system'.

The couple bought a set of farm buildings down a track off the main Macclesfield Road back in 2003 and moved into what was effectively half of a portal-framed livestock building. Their side of the shed was gradually converted into a one-bedroom home, while the farm animals continued in residence on the other side of a partition wall. The only problem was that no-one bothered to tell the council.

When SMDC eventually found out some months ago, officials took a very dim very, because converting the 'barn' to house stood no chance of gaining planning permission.

However the couple were able to produce documentary evidence that they had lived there for more than four years - thus establishing a legal right for their humble abode to remain. Through gritted teeth, councillors had to give in, but are going to press for a change in the law, raising the time limit to ten years.

In the meantime, councillors are worried that the case may tempt owners of other suitably remote 'barns' in the Moorlands to chance their luck and set up a home ...as long as no-one notices for four years.

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