OXFORD city councillors have ordered a Headington family to take down a £25,000 back garden building used as a study centre and gym.
Tursem Singh Turna owns the house in Dene Road and his brother Kuldip Singh Turna lives there with his wife and three sons.
On Wednesday members of the East area planning committee ordered the family to demolish the building in the back garden, after they failed to comply with an enforcement notice requiring demolition.
In September the family applied for planning permission but it was refused. They are taking the issue to an appeal.
The building, which has a pitched roof, occupies about 25 per cent of the space in the back garden.
Councillors have agreed that it has to come down and that direct action could now be taken, with staff going onto the property to carry out the demolition.
Tursem Singh Turna and Kuldip Singh Turna said they were disappointed with the committee’s decision.
Kuldip Singh Turna lives there with wife Harjinder, and three sons Akash, 18, Karan, 17, and Jugraj, 12.
Akash said: “I’m doing A-Levels at Oxford and Cherwell Valley College including maths and I would like to go to Oxford University.
“We use the outbuilding as a study space and for gym equipment including a treadmill – it seems ridiculous that it is going to have to be demolished.”
Architect Sanjive Corpaul, speaking on behalf of the Turna family, said they had spent £25,000 on the building, and £12,000 on legal fees, but would continue to seek legal avenues to retain it.
He added: “The family has not properly understood all the legal implications of the planning process but the legal appeal route is not yet over by a long way.”
The exterior of the contested building
The family is now trying to get a certificate of lawful development for the building on appeal.
A magistrates’ court hearing brought by the council against the family is due to be heard on May 19.
City councillor John Goddard said he was not in favour of taking action now, but wanted to await the outcome of the appeal.
He added: “We are in a strong position – rather like Putin in the Crimea. Our troops can move in at any time.
“I would much rather not take direct action until the other routes have certainly failed.”
PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS
LAST year the Government introduced new permitted development rights to allow for larger house extensions as well as alterations to commercial properties. Key changes include allowing the following without the need for planning permission:
- Larger single storey rear extensions to residential properties
- Larger extensions to
- industrial and warehousing premises, shops and offices
- Conversions between office and residential uses
- More flexible uses of shops, offices, residential institutions and agricultural buildings
- Easier conversion of premises for school uses
- Telecom installations in conservation areas
- If people want to go ahead with one of the above they will still need to notify their local council through a prior notification application.