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Bike shed planning appeal lost as inspector rules wooden structure "harmful" to Grade II listed building

Despite a council member initially walking "past the bike storage without even noticing it", the local authority asked the resident to apply for retrospective planning permission which was denied...

A homeowner who installed a wooden bike shed outside his one-bedroom property in a Grade II listed former workhouse will not be allowed to keep the "very modest" bicycle storage facility after the council and a planning inspector objected to the structure, claiming it would "lead to a harmful cumulative change to the listed building".

Barney Tierney told the Shropshire Star that he thought the bike shed would be a "great alternative option" as his one-bedroom home in the listed building in Ironbridge, near Telford, does not have a rear garden and "there isn't much space inside".

However, the council sent a letter of complaint regarding the structure and ultimately deemed he would need to apply for retrospective planning permission, an application later denied by Telford & Wrekin Council who said the wooden shed would "fail to preserve the setting of the listed building, due to its form, materials and prominent location which would not be outweighed by any public benefit".

Ironically, when the council first visited the site, Mr Tierney explained how the "council member believed the bike storage was in my back garden" and "they had walked past the bike storage without even noticing it".

"A good example of how little impact it has to the aesthetic of the property," he suggested, later appealing the decision on the grounds the shed has "no significant impact to any part of the original building".

"There is no demolition to any part of the building, there is no significant rebuilding and the bike storage does not attach in any way to the building," he said. "There are other properties in the area that have similar storage sheds in their garden, which have been accepted for planning permission.

"I have offered to paint the bike storage a desired colour and other sheds/outdoor storage are also made from timber and are also evident when entering the estate which have been granted planning permission."

> Shedgate: Victory for family as bike shed application approved

However, at appeal stage a planning inspector ruled with the council and judged the shed outside the Grade II listed Lincoln Grange, formerly part of the Madeley Union Workhouse which dates back to between 1871 and 1875, would "lead to a harmful cumulative change to the listed building".

"This central, protruding gable is a defining characteristic of this overall aspect of the complex of listed buildings as a whole," the inspector said. "As such this element provides a true focal point that helps link the symmetry of the complex together.

"Unfortunately, due to this, such a location is very sensitive to any changes that could affect this uniform and symmetrical appearance. In this case, although very modest in scale and size, the bicycle store is very visible and does introduce an unfortunate physical structure onto this principal elevation.

"As such, the symmetry is altered with a structure of much poorer quality materials that bears little architectural relationship to the special qualities of the building itself. Although I saw on my site visit that other properties did house more ancillary type shed structures within their respective curtilage, the introduction of one in this location is noticeably more visible and therefore potentially harmful.

"I consider the use of more active travel could be considered a public benefit in favour of this scheme, ultimately, the introduction of this structure would result in significant enough harm to cause greater cumulative harm that these benefits could not outweigh.

"As such, and on balance, the proposal before me would lead to a harmful cumulative change to the listed building."

This is not the first time a bike shed planning saga has been reported here on road.cc, one incident in Leicester in autumn 2021 getting so much attention it was dubbed 'Shedgate'.

Leicester bike shed (Kavi Pujara)

Leicester City Council told the family involved that it would need to remove its homemade eco bike shed as it is not in keeping with the Victorian character of the street, something numerous people pointed out did not seem to be an issue with the on-street car parking that lines the road.

Following plenty of support for the family's case, the city's mayor even got involved to admit that planning officers had "got it wrong", before it was triumphantly announced that the bike shed could stay.

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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34 comments

Avatar
mattw | 3 months ago
4 likes

At least fixing it will be cheaper than the bungalow built for the Ghost of Captain Tom.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to mattw | 3 months ago
0 likes
mattw wrote:

At least fixing it will be cheaper than the bungalow built for the Ghost of Captain Tom.

Haha 

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Disabled Rider | 3 months ago
2 likes

The council are totally at fault in this case as they obviously gave the developer permission for 1 bedroomed home. Where are people allowed to keep their coal, logs, LPG tanks, bins, bikes, bench, washing line and the rest. Planners have got to allow space within these developments for people to live outside the box even if it is to park a pram in any grade home.

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Benthic | 3 months ago
5 likes

"...not in keeping with the Victorian character of the street..."

So what?

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chrisonabike replied to Benthic | 3 months ago
8 likes

It spoils it for all the residents / visitors who've spent lots of money and effort re-installing coal-fired ranges, gas lighting and servants.  And who have to put up with wearing high-maintenance clothes, deferring to (older) men (is this different?) and living without most plastics or any electronic devices...

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levestane replied to Benthic | 3 months ago
1 like

Presumably a horse would be fine.

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Andrewbanshee replied to levestane | 3 months ago
0 likes

These homes are for poor, apologies, working class... apologies again, people who will be uplifted. They can't afford a horse, iron or otherwise.

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chrisonabike replied to Andrewbanshee | 3 months ago
0 likes

... which is why they should all have "stabling" for a poor-man's nag?

If they want to up the illusion there is always Trotify.

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LordSandwich | 3 months ago
7 likes

I think the laws around listed buildings are unnecessarily strict and are due for reform. Anything that causes no physical damage to the structure should just automatically be accepted. Also, anything that improves disabled access should automatically be accepted. The rights of disabled people are more important that history.

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Wheelywheelygood | 3 months ago
1 like

This is obviously a desaster for humanity . The economy will fail the tower of London will fall and a meteor is heading for earth . We need to get some of those nice men in white coats to take these fools for a lovely long holiday in a room with padded wallpaper and those fashionable jackets that tie up at the back and lots of multi coloured pills 

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perce replied to Wheelywheelygood | 3 months ago
3 likes

A meteor is headed this way? I'll keep my helmet on then.

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IanGlasgow | 3 months ago
19 likes

"such a location is very sensitive to any changes that could affect this uniform and symmetrical appearance."

But this isn't a problem?

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open_roads | 3 months ago
16 likes

A perfect example of a council that complains of underfunding yet wastes its scarce resources on completely pointless bureaucracy.

To say the bike shed ruins the aesthetic is completely ludicrous given the two white wall mounted / plastic meter box covers in the photo are way more prominent.

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Born_peddling | 3 months ago
3 likes

Typical another BS building aesthetics argument.... A new solution to all riders upon the local authority ordering a tear down of your bike storage. Issue them an estimate of the charges you'll be forwarding to them for secure storage.....fun thing to do if the local authority doesn't want you to keep your ride safe you can charge them for safe storage (if necessary point out any insurance requirements and or if it's your work vehicle) and just see how long it takes them to U turn the no storage decision 😂

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wycombewheeler replied to Born_peddling | 3 months ago
3 likes
Born_peddling wrote:

Typical another BS building aesthetics argument.... A new solution to all riders upon the local authority ordering a tear down of your bike storage. Issue them an estimate of the charges you'll be forwarding to them for secure storage.....fun thing to do if the local authority doesn't want you to keep your ride safe you can charge them for safe storage (if necessary point out any insurance requirements and or if it's your work vehicle) and just see how long it takes them to U turn the no storage decision 😂

the council are not required to care about how you store your personal property - unless it's a car.

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Backladder | 3 months ago
14 likes

A second matching shed on the other side would restore the precious symmetry!

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IanGlasgow replied to Backladder | 3 months ago
9 likes
Backladder wrote:

A second matching shed on the other side would restore the precious symmetry!

and obscure the plastic meter boxes

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mattw | 3 months ago
8 likes

I'd say bad tactics.

Paint it darker and put a bush or two to make it less prominent to passersby, and he may have kept it.

Or get one that is technically portable, where PP would not be required or enforcible.

Same principle as some companies with non-approved adverts - move it a little every so often.

I'd say dismantle, wait a bit, and try again.

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grOg replied to mattw | 3 months ago
0 likes

Correct; I would have definitely painted it to match the house and placed a large potted bushy plant in front; out of sight, out of mind.

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bikes replied to mattw | 3 months ago
0 likes

And possibly make it more ancillary to the curtilage (move it onto the grass). This would hopefully restore the chance for people to tie the symmetry of the complex together and we can all sleep easy again.

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thereverent | 3 months ago
7 likes

I wonder if had he used some dark woodstain on it as soon as it was up, no-one would have noticed (or assumed it had been there for years).

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to thereverent | 3 months ago
1 like

Or even bought a used shed or something weathered - it does stand out quite a bit, you can't deny that!

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Clem Fandango replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 3 months ago
8 likes

It does stand out right now, especially given that all of our focus is obviously on it (although not so much that the inspectors even noticed it during a site visit according to the article). 

So do the plastic leccy meter covers though.  Which won't weather in over time.

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brooksby replied to Clem Fandango | 3 months ago
1 like
Clem Fandango wrote:

So do the plastic leccy meter covers though.  Which won't weather in over time.

They might: they might start turning yellowish and crumbling apart.

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wycombewheeler | 3 months ago
17 likes

solution, as per usual, buy a crappy van, park it outside and keep the bikes inside that.

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I love my bike replied to wycombewheeler | 3 months ago
1 like

Easiest option: put his shed on wheels?

It's a shame Google hasn't 'Streetviewed' Kyrle Close, so only have one photo to comment on.

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andrew_s replied to wycombewheeler | 3 months ago
1 like

If you put it where the bike shed is, you can SORN it too

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Oldfatgit | 3 months ago
4 likes

Another reason not to buy a Listed Building.

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LeadenSkies replied to Oldfatgit | 3 months ago
4 likes

Not really, I owned one for years, no issues getting planning for an extension and even improvements to the front elevation. The difference is I worked with the listed building officer to ensure any changes were in keeping with the setting and likely to be acceptable before I submitted plans. I had more issues getting planning on a 1930s bungalow that I own now. Same council but the normal planning officer doesn't offer a 'work with you' type initial consultation like the listed building officer does so I had to guess what was likely to be given permission and guessed wrong.

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Oldfatgit replied to LeadenSkies | 3 months ago
5 likes

My biggest surprise here is that the listing authority has allowed recessed wall mounted electrical boxes.
These need a cavity to be made in the wall (approx 400mm x 500mm x 300mm by memory).
Gas designers will do everything they can to avoid retrofitting recessed meter boxes as it's a massive hole to make in a wall that wasn't designed to have that hole in.
To say I am surprised that the LA allowed the recessed meter boxes is an understatement and a potentially an argument to be used for breach of symmetry and aesthetic.
I wonder if the utility company that installed them even looked at the Listed Building Register or if the building owner applied for consent.

I have had LAs reject applications for gas meter boxes and housings due to Grade 2 listed status and have to work very closely with them to come up with alternatives that meet their regulations and more importantly, gas regs.

It would be interesting to know what the LAs responses are to the meterboxes.

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