We’re furious as our council told us to rip down gym we built in our driveway – our neighbours all use it, it’s insane | The Sun
HOMEOWNERS who built a tiny gym in their driveway without planning permission have slammed a “jobsworth” council for ordering them to rip it down.
Madam Pal Singh was given the green-light to build a single-storey garage at his semi in Highgate, Birmingham, in 2019.
But when a bigger property appeared at the end of the driveway, town hall planners demanded the structure be razed to the ground.
Council chiefs gave the family until July to pull down the new building after losing an appeal, but it still remains standing.
When approached by Sun Online, family members denied they had been told to demolish the building – and claim it is used as a gym.
A woman who answered the door at the address claimed it is used as a gym.
She said: “We’ve not been told to demolish the property.
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“We use it as a gym, we go in there every day. We all go in there – there are about four or five families around here. We all use the gym.
“We’re not ashamed of it. We’ve got nothing to prove to anyone. We’re not on benefits, we spent our hard-earned money to build what we’ve built.
“If and when the council decide the neighbours are moaning, get it down, we will deal with it in our own way.
“As it is at the moment, it’s staying.”
Another woman, who did not give her name, added: “Until the council gets in direct contact with us to tell us to demolish it, what we’re going to say to everyone is ‘f*** you because we’re going to keep it’. And that’s that."
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Asked if the council was being “jobsworth”, she added: “Yes. Anyone who has complained is jobsworth.”
Inspector Thomas Shields wrote in his report: “Instead of a garage door, there is a pedestrian door into the front room and a tripartite bow window.
“Instead of single-storey, the appeal building is 1.5-storey and has two rooms in the roof, facilitated by an almost full-width box dormer.
“All of these differences, between what was approved, and what has been built, are not minor.
"Since the appeal building bears little resemblance to the scale and design of the approved single-storey garage, it does not benefit from that planning permission.”
But the bullish family insisted they had the support of the community for the property and denied it was being lived in.
They said: “No-one around here has a problem with it. All the neighbours think it looks nice. It was a garage, we turned into a gym during Covid.
“The funny thing is when the council came to inspect it he saw all the gym equipment in there.
“There are punch-bags in there, there are other gym machines.”
It's a gym that the family use – that's it. We don't have a problem with it at all."
Neighbours living near the home in Vaughton Street said they were in support of the illegally-built annexe.
Tasleen Akhtar, 45, commented: “The council came and saw it while they were building it. What’s the issue now it’s been built.?
“It’s just a gym that the family use – that’s it. We don’t have a problem with it at all.
“There are far worse things around here that the council needs to sort.”
Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “I think it looks nice. It’s good quality. I just don’t see the problem.”
One neighbour, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "We just assumed they had permission to do that in the first place.
"I think they built it for an elderly relative who appears to come in and out of there quite frequently.
"But if it was only given permission to be a garage I cannot see how they thought they would ever get away with it. It's clearly a house."
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A spokesperson for Birmingham City Council said: "We served an EN (enforcement notice) for the demolition of the unauthorised structure when the owner lost at appeal.
"We are in discussions with the owner re timeline. Compliance with the notice was due by July 1, 2022."
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