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Petition Tag - sheds
In 2011 a new development of around a hundred allotment plots was created on a field in Armitage, Staffordshire. The take up was rapid and within months local people were producing fruit and vegetables for themselves.
A number of small sheds were erected on some of the plots, but Lichfield District Council soon served notice that the sheds required planning permission as they are permanent and substantial structures, and should be removed immediately. Since then it has been made clear that should planning permission be applied for it will be denied.
We believe that a 6 foot by 4 foot shed does not require planning permission for the following reasons;
The sheds are small in size.
The sheds are not physically attached to the ground in any way.
The sheds have no services such as water or electricity.
The sheds are easily moveable.
Many other councils have decided that 6 foot by 4 foot sheds on allotments do not require planning permission, and LDC could do themselves. The reason given by one councillor was “it is sensible to allow allotment holders to have a small shed on site in which to store various equipment”.
Sheds are a valuable asset to allotments; they have an environmental benefit by removing the need to travel by car with a boot full of tools, as well as by linking with water butts to reduce the use of the water supply. They make allotments neater and tidier allowing tools and other bits and bobs to be stored when not in use.
The allotments have rapidly become a valuable resource to the local community, used by young and old alike, and accessible to so many because of the sheds. Without sheds there is a real danger the use of the allotments will become limited.
Six months ago Emma Cannings started what is now a successful and popular skin care therapy business at the Stamford Garden Centre. Old wooden sheds were pulled down and a new wooden building put up in its place. The Garden Centre now has a cafe, farm shop, gift shop, butchers, florists and vets. The salon is a welcome addition and is a significant improvement on the old sheds.
The parking at the garden centre means that the salon is popular since the centre of Stamford is become increasingly difficult to access by car during the day as more and more residential estates are developed on the outskirts of the town. A large number of people are also able to walk to the garden centre. The salon has also been made fully accessible for the disabled.
The planning application (originally misplaced and un-actioned by the council) had no objections from any members of the public or the local parish council. However, in a shock decision, they have recommended that the building be pulled down. Their reasons seem confusing and inconsistent at best. The large new offices recently built on the outskirts of Uppingham and developments at the Ashwell garden centre make the decision even more confusing.
Their decision will put six people out of work, plunge the owners into financial crisis and damage the other businesses at the garden centre who benefit from the cross trading opportunities. It seems no wonder that the country is one of the last in Europe to pull itself out of economic difficulties if this is how the government treats its entrepreneurs. Rather than spending time promoting and marketing the business we are having to invest all our time into fighting our own local government who want us to spend money tearing down a building that is offending no one (other than local planners and councilors) and benefiting many.
As someone who has lived in Rutland their whole life I feel very passionately about protecting the countryside. Of course we must have strong regulations against buildings that could damage our beautiful county. However, this business was not built on an area of outstanding beauty. It is a one storey, attractive wooden building that was constructed on the site of some older wooden buildings of the same size. It has significantly enhanced the garden centre for the other businesses and for the people that use it.
At no point did we ever envisage that the greatest threat to the business, at a time when we are struggling to get this country out of a bad recession, would come from our own government.
Please help us overturn this decision and show Rutland County Council that, whilst we appreciate their desire to protect our beautiful county, they have got it badly wrong this time.