Sussex man brings in a crane to prove point in planning row over shed

A man who has been ordered to remove his shed by planning officials went to the lengths of hiring a crane to show that it is not a permanent structure.

Steve Holden, of Emmanuel Road, Hastings, has been in dispute with Hastings Borough Council’s planning department for more than a year after one person objected to the shed in his garden.

But Steve argues that the shed is not a permanent structure but technically qualifies as a caravan under the Caravans Act 1960, as it a single frame structure which can be moved.

And to prove his point he hired a crane which showed that the structure could be easily lifted and moved by flat bed lorry if necessary.

Steve explained: “It has been a long and very expensive process. I applied for retrospective planning permission, which was turned down and then had the enforcement order made which has given me three months to remove it. It hasn’t been cheap hiring a crane but I wanted to prove a point.”

He is being supported by the man who designed and built the shed Peter Bucklitsch, who started out designing earthquake proofed structures. Steve said: “It was designed with a single frame and has no foundations so it is moveable in one piece. It’s one complete frame on legs and as such complies with the Caravans Act. The Act says that a structure does not have to have wheels to qualify as being a caravan.

"If this action against Mr Holden goes ahead it would have implications for people with caravans in their drives, who would then require planning permission. I have raised these issues with the council but they have not responded. In terms of law this is a chattel, which is effectively a personal possession.”

Steve uses the structure as an electronic workshop and spends a lot of time in it. He says neighbours have been very supportive and have even offered to sign a petition in favour of him keeping it.

He said: “Mr Bucklitsch, who built it assured me it did not need planning permission as it is easily moveable. Unfortunately the planning department disagree. It is not attached to the ground in any way and by lifting it with the crane to show clear ground underneath we hope to have proved that.”

A spokesperson for Hastings Borough Council said: “Mr Holden has sought to gain planning permission however, this was refused and a subsequent appeal against this refusal was dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate. Since then the Planning Enforcement Team have requested the unauthorised structure is removed. The Planning Enforcement Team have and continue to be open to discussion with Mr Holden regarding this matter, however the structure is in breach of planning control.

"Mr Holden has the right to appeal against the enforcement action taken by the Council and he is able to make his representations regarding the structure to a planning inspector.”

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