1 March 2017
Following three years of legal wrangling, the Planning Inspector has supported Elmbridge Borough Council’s decision that a log cabin built without planning permission on land off the Seven Hills Road should be removed.
Known locally as ‘La La Land’ the substantial log cabin was constructed in an area of woodland near to Convent Lane in Hersham. However, the cabin was built on Green Belt land without planning permission. Despite the cabin owner’s claim that it was built for the purposes of bio-diversity research, the Council maintained that the cabin was unauthorised, was potentially being used for residential accommodation and was inappropriate in the Green Belt. As a result the Council issued an enforcement notice to require the cabin to be removed.
However, this was not before the owner of the cabin had applied to the Council for a Certificate of Lawful Use or Development for “the continuous use of land and cabin as a residential house”, which if granted would have made the cabin immune from enforcement action. The application was refused in January 2015 as the Council considered that the cabin was not a building that provided the facilities required for day-to-day domestic existence and therefore not a dwelling house.
The owner of the cabin, who is not the land owner, appealed the enforcement notice on various grounds. The appeal was considered at a formal inquiry chaired by the Planning Inspector on 4 January 2017. The Planning Inspector found that it had been appropriate for the enforcement notice to require the removal of the cabin and dismissed the cabin owner’s appeal.
The Council will now be contacting the owner of the cabin seeking its removal from the land.
Councillor Karen Randolph, Portfolio Holder for Planning said; “Elmbridge takes its role in Green Belt protection very seriously and will continue to actively pursue those who deliberately flout planning rules and procedures. In this case, officers have worked for almost three years to ensure that the woodland is restored to its condition prior to the breach of planning law.”
In June 2016, Elmbridge Borough Council was involved in a successful prosecution for the destruction of thousands of trees at Corbie Wood on the Seven Hills Road.