The planning inspectorate has upheld a planning enforcement notice issued against an unauthorised new dwelling built on green belt land in Elmstone Hardwicke without planning permission. 

Mr Ryan Kenny and Mrs Natalie Kenny erected a dwelling at Slate Mill, Tewkesbury Road which is located on green belt land and within flood zones 2 and 3 where development is strictly controlled.  

On 9 January 2020, Mr and Mrs Kenny applied to the council for a certificate of lawfulness for the dwelling. The applicants sought to rely on the ‘four-year rule’ which grants immunity to certain developments in breach of planning control after four years have elapsed. 

However, in this case the correct time period for immunity was actually 10 years since the breach of planning rules amounted to an unlawful change in the use of the land. As such, the council refused the certificate on 9 March 2020 and opened an enforcement case. 

An enforcement notice was issued requiring the demolition of the building which the applicants appealed against. However, on 25 October 2021, the planning inspectorate determined that the enforcement action was to be upheld. 

Mr and Mrs Kenny now have six weeks to challenge the decision in the High Court. As it stands, they have until 25 September 2022 to comply with the terms of the enforcement notice which include the demolition of the dwelling and ceasing to use the land for residential purposes. 

Councillor Rob Bird, leader of Tewkesbury Borough Council, said: “The action we have taken is testament to the seriousness with which the council takes the unauthorised use of green belt land and demonstrates that, should anyone disregard the regulations, we will not hesitate to issue an enforcement notice in the first instance.”