Toddler wins planning battle over wendy house

    BUREAUCRATIC council officials took the meaning of red tape to the extreme when they ordered a couple to apply for planning permission – for their daughter’s Wendy House.

    The bijou Wendy house measures 6ft by 8ft and was a birthday present for three-year-old Abigail Gent, who lives near Whitchurch, Shropshire.

    None of the neighbours raised any objection to the  7ft tall structure, but because of officials’ “crazy” red tape it still needed planning permission.

    Parents Richard and Olivia Gent, of Bronington, are still scratching their heads over the bizarre move.

    Wrexham County Borough Council said permission was required to ensure no “additional development” was carried out.

    Mr Gent, a company director in London, said he was “puzzled” by the council’s red tape.

    “I thought it was crazy and I couldn’t understand the reasoning behind it. I really thought the world had gone mad,” he said.

    The couple said they initially built the Wendy house in a paddock – which is part of their property – when they moved in about a year ago.

    It stood there unchallenged for three months but when officials visiting another property nearby spotted the offending structure they sent the Gents a letter.

    It told them to either move the Wendy house from the paddock to their garden or apply for planning permission to keep it in the paddock – which they were advised would cost GBP169 and probably be refused as the paddock was classed as agricultural land, the couple said.

    Instead, the Gents said they dismantled the Wendy house and moved it to the garden.

    But they still had to apply for planning permission and spend hours dealing with bureaucracy.

    Mr Gent added: “We thought the paddock seemed a sensible place to put it until someone from planning wrote saying we couldn’t have it there.

    “Technically the council are right and are only doing their job – but I cannot understand why in these austere times for the public sector, officials are worrying about such a trifling thing as this.”

    A spokeswoman for the council said: “The reason planning permission was required was due to previous planning conditions, when approval was granted for a barn conversion and a change of use of land for grazing of recreational horses.

    “Due to the restricted application site, and its relationship with adjoining properties, it was considered important to ensure that no additional development is carried out without the permission of the Local Planning Authority.

    “Permission for this structure was granted on March 8, 2011.”

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