A 70-year-old homeowner has described his local council as being 'hypocritical' after being ordered to tear down his £16,000 outbuilding.
Graham Cadman built the structure which is used by fishermen after allegedly approaching a Birmingham City Council officer for permission in 2016.
At the time he says he was told the building would be allowed 'as long as the structure had no windows and no doors and was no higher than four metres’, but fast-forward six years and Graham is now facing threats to remove the building or face enforcement action from the council.
As reported by Birmingham Live, Graham explained he was inspired to build the shelter after two previous marquees he had put up had blown away. After a photograph of his building was sent to the council by a neighbour in 2018, an officer told Graham he had to submit a planning application for retrospective permission for the building.
Graham did as he was told, but the application was turned down in 2019. In its refusal notice, the Birmingham City Council claimed the outbuilding breached two elements of its Birmingham Development Plan 2017 and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
The 70-year-old unsuccessfully appealed the decision, and a second appeal over the enforcement action started by the city council was denied in 2020.
An inspector in the second appeal claimed, in part: "The use described goes beyond supporting fishermen by providing shelter in poor weather. In addition, the structure appears to provide a social facility where both fishing and non-fishing people interact.
“The information before me indicates that use for fishing is not the sole use and there is limited information before me to indicate why the structure is the size that it is. The structure is not therefore an appropriate facility for outdoor recreation or sport.”
Two weeks ago, Graham was approached 'out of the blue' by an enforcement officer who told him he had one month to remove the structure.
The elderly man commented: "All this has been blown up out of proportion. I still think I don’t need planning permission as that’s what I had been told."
The council claimed in 2019 the structure would involve 'inappropriate development in the Green Belt', and drew attention to the fact that the site of the shed is also a Site of Importance Nature Conservation, claiming ‘inadequate information [had] been provided to gauge the effects of the building on ‘priority habitats and protected/notable species".
Graham, who runs the Lindridge Pool fishery, claimed the structure was essential for fishermen and said he was 'gutted' at being forced to remove the structure.
He commented: "I have got to take it down and I haven’t got the money. I am 70 years of age. My main grievance is they gave me permission in the first place. It’s not a dwelling. It’s all open. This was a trade farm originally. We have a fishery and we are trying to increase it to 100 fishermen. I think the council are hypocrites, 100 percent."
David Hill, senior enforcement officer at Birmingham City Council, visited the site on 13 April and sent a letter which claimed the use by fishermen did not outweigh the 'detrimental visual harm and [the shed's] improperness’ within the green belt.'
“It is my intention to return to the site in one month and if the structure is still in place, then the LPA will have no alternative but to instigate legal proceedings, against all persons with an interest in the land, to ensure compliance with the enforcement notice I do hope you will take steps to comply with the enforcement notice to avoid legal action," Hill wrote.
A spokesperson for Birmingham City Council claimed it had not received a written request from Graham to construct the shed, adding: "However, if full details and context of the proposed structure had been supplied then appropriate advice would have been given. Mr Cadman's appeal against the refusal of planning permission was dismissed by the independent planning inspectorate and as the structure has yet to be removed enforcement action has begun."
Graham is particularly disappointed with the decision as the council has planned for the construction of 5,500 homes on land nearby off Springfield Road on the former Green Belt.
LADbible has approached Birmingham City Council for comment.
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