AN UNAUTHORISED ‘shed with beds’ which neighbours feel is making their area a ‘slum’ has been granted planning permission.
The outbuilding of a property in Hindes Road, Harrow, has been rented out by private landlord, Mohammed Lalji, as a living space, breaching planning laws and causing distress to neighbours.
Harrow Council officers have previously informed Mr Lalji that he had breached planning laws, however, legislation states that if a building has been used in such a manner for four years or more, it is eligible for an application under lawful existing use, a clause the owner relied on at a planning meeting on Tuesday when it was granted permission.
A Hindes Road neighbour of the property, who wished to remain anonymous, said after the meeting: “The council’s planning department have the power to pull down play houses from trees, but they do not do anything when it comes to things like this.
“I used to call them every day about this, but they always side with the applicant. The thing itself is an eyesore, the sight of it is horrible.”
The committee had previously gone against officers’ recommendation to make the outbuilding legal at a planning meeting on August 1 and deferred the decision in a bid to gather more evidence, however, councillors were forced to approve the decision this week, much to the upset of neighbours.
The committee had been shown images of outside the property when furniture and piles of black bin bags were being stored in the driveway.
A different neighbour who addressed the planning committee on August 1 said the building was making the area resemble ‘a slum’.
Harrow Council’s divisional director for planning, Stephen Kelly, told the Observer after the meeting: “The council is satisfied that enough evidence has been provided to demonstrate that, on the legal test of balance of probabilities, this property has been in use as a self-contained unit for a continuous period of at least four years prior to the date of this application. Under planning regulations, this means that the building can continue to be used as a home, despite the fact that it does not have planning permission.”
The landlord did not attend either the meeting on August 1 or the meeting on Tuesday.