What a waste of human endeavour. An inspector has upheld an enforcement notice requiring the removal of a pair of gates over 1m in height and 2.5m from the highway at a house in Surrey, finding that planning permission was required (DCS Number 400-012-202).
As we all know, the GPDO used to say that any gate, fence, wall or means of enclosure over one metre in height abutting a highway required permission. Clever types came along and circumvented the legislation by simply moving the gate,…means of enclosure away from the highway a smidge. So, the wording was amended to refer to a gate, fence, wall or means of enclosure erected or constructed adjacent to a highway. The trouble is that no-one has ever defined what exactly ‘adjacent to a highway’ means and it’s about time that someone did. The appeal record shows that ‘adjacent to a highway’ might be 1m, 1.5m, 2.5m from the highway….
This cannot be a situation where things can be so finely balanced that it must remain a matter of fact and degree. If, as a profession, we could decide on a distance and incorporate it into a revised version of the GPDO we could avoid needless enforcement action and needless appeals. Then, as a society, we could apply our minds to something a bit more useful, such as finding a cure for cancer or putting an end to world hunger. In fact, the Blog can help out with this one. Two metres. There. Job done. Now let’s all move on.
The following DCP chapter is relevant: 4.3422