Is The Forest of Dean Megabasement PD?

Front page of the Daily Mail website today an extraordinary development, a whole leisure centre including 10 pin bowling ally, squash court , casino, badminton court and cinema in a back garden in cinderford.  The more money than sense owner is aghast at an enforcement notice issued, claiming it was buiild to be PD.  It has gone to appeal.

The report in Western Daily Press suggest the council is clamiing that it is 4.5m high rather than the max 2.5m.  However it is clear from the phoptos that they have measured this from the point at the bpttom of the excavation to its highermost point.  Not the method used in the ‘technical guide‘ based on caselaw and appeal precendent.

“Height” – references to height (for example, the heights of the eaves on a house
extension) is the height measured from ground level. Ground level is the surface ofthe ground immediately adjacent to the building in question. Where ground level isnot uniform (eg if the ground is sloping), then the ground level is the highest part of the surface of the ground next to the building.

The only grounds you could claim it being outside PD is that the excavations are so great it is an engineering operation. There is an appeal which states that  (according to Planning Jungle):

  • the excavation of a basement does fall within the scope of Class A, but that such works will be excluded from the scope of the GPDO if they amount to an engineering operation.[Source: September 2009 – Code a00028].

The very fact that he main defense is that the entire neighboutrhood will into a hole seems to pretty clear cut make the case that this is an engineering operation.

Of course if he poured concrete into the hole then what would be left above ground level would be PD.

As currently worded though the enforcement notice is so defective and incapable in current form of being coprrected, that a ground A appeal with costs is likely to succed, it not the building operation which makes it development, and as such none of the other grounds would fall to be considered.

‘The construction of walls and the erection of a building on the area of land which has been excavated is harmful to the residential amenity of the surrounding land in terms of the overbearing impact of a physical structure and the level of impact from the uncontrolled use of the building.”


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