‘Monster Mansion’ to be demolished after homeowner loses planning appeal

The home Gurwinder Singh demolished to accommodate his four-bedroom property
The home Gurwinder Singh demolished to accommodate his four-bedroom property (Image credit: Google Street View)

A homeowner in Walsall who knocked down his home in order to build a larger four-bedroom property has been ordered to demolish it after an appeal.

Gurwinder Singh, had wanted to replace his smaller semi-detached property but had only received planning permission for an extension to his house on the corner of Sandringham Avenue and Arundel Road. 

Instead, he bulldozed his house and replaced it with a four-bedroom property, which one neighbour described as a ‘monster mansion’.

However, after complaints from local residents the new home has been ordered to be torn down, despite Mr Singh's appeal to keep the property.

Homeowner bulldozed 1960s home without permission

Mr. Singh initially possessed planning permission for a modest extension to his 1960s house in 2020, but he instead decided to demolish the entire building. 

The estimated cost of this extensive project was around £200,000, making it the largest property in the area, but this prompted protests from local residents as the council received 95 objections to the build.

During a Walsall Council planning meeting, all the councillors reached a unanimous decision to reject Mr. Singh's retrospective planning application for the partly-finished building.

Adjoining neighbours 'suffered hell' due to breach

After hearing the new property was unacceptable in size and scale and caused hardship to Mr Singh’s neighbours, Walsall’s planning committee chairman Mike Bird said he was "sick and tired" of people breaching regulations and "adjoining neighbours have suffered hell".

“This is a very serious situation. An extension was approved and what we got was a brand new house to the detriment of the adjoining neighbour. Walsall Council is going to put ‘force’ back into enforcement," he said.

The decision to enforce demolition of the property was made because altering the existing structure would "prolong the disruption", senior officer Frank Whiteley said.

"There is no immediate prospect of an acceptable solution being found and on these terms, demolition is considered proportionate and reasonable," he added.

Appeal made under permitted development rights

Mr Singh appealed the decision by Walsall Council claiming that the new house should be allowed under permitted development rights and therefore should not require planning permission.

This planning application was rejected, with Planning inspector Andrew McGlone stating: "The appellant claims that the works which have taken place on site accord with the planning permission granted by the council on May 17, 2021 ('the 2021 permission') for a two-storey side extension and single-storey front extension for a front porch and bay window.

"Setting aside the fact that the works are not an extension to the dwelling since it was demolished, the outcome of the assessment confirms that, the layout, footprint, scale, massing and appearance of the structure are different to the 2021 permission.

"Hence, the appellants have not carried out the development granted through the 2021 permission and there is no other planning permission in place for the development that has taken place.

"As a result, there has been a breach of planning control in respect of the partially erected replacement dwelling."

How to avoid breaching planning permission

This case highlights the risks posed when you undergo a self build, extension, renovation or home improvement project without planning permission.

It’s always beneficial to plan ahead and investigate whether any improvements you want to make require council approval. And even if you get rejected planning permission, remember that it doesn’t have to be a death knell for your project. The council may suggest changes that need to occur in order for it to be approved, and you can subsequently apply again.  

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.

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