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clogherhead wrote (see)

answers the questions


Have you read the article? To whom are you referring?

Dovefromabove wrote (see)

As I understand it the land in question that was bought and added to the garden was previously part of a field and as such it will have been part of a Registered Agricultural Holding.  To use it for anything other than agriculture will be in breach of planning regulations - this should have been made clear to the purchasers by their solicitor when handling the purchase.  They could then have applied for permission for Change of Use to  Residential - I think  that's the appropriate classification.  It is quite simple but it requires a fee.  Sometimes people don't bother and think it doesn't matter.  This proves that it does.

People would be up in arms if a farmer built a house on a field without planning permission - I'm afraid it's the same thing.  

This has happened in the past and the house has been demolished.


This one. yes I have read it .


I too have read the article in the Daily Mail. It stated thet the garden had become a "haven for wildlife", which included frogs, newts, birds and insects. The key thing here is "Newts". If Mrs Bailey happens to have any Great Crested Newts in her garden/pond, then the council will not be able to make her disturb her garden in any way, shape or form. These creatures are heavily protected by law, and disturbing them or their habitat is a criminal offence. Hope this helps


Gardening Grandma

I just did a bit of research on the net. Apparently she can grow vegetables on it or keep animals on it. It is debatable whether this has to be as part of a business. Allotments are OK on agricultural land. Buildings are ok providing they have no concrete base and are temporary and moveable. Incorporation into an ornamental garden is not ok. This lady's case is regarded as the thin end of the wedge. However, the land will not now be used for any real agricultural purpose and the whole thing does seem a pointless waste of time and money. It is hardly the same as a someone building a house, which in any case a farmer can do if he can claiim the accomodation is needed for farm workers. I have seen this particular rule bent pretty comprehensively and any accomodation thus built would have a garden.

This lady is neither growing vegetables or keeping animals. If Dovefromabove hadn't posted, my view would have been she needs to take this up with the solicitor involved with purchasing the land/property who should have advised her appropriately  as to what she could or not do on the land prior to purchase.

She may have a liable claim against the solicitor, if not given appropriate counsel and although I feel sorry for this lady sadly ignorance is not a defence in a court of law and the council will know this.

If she chose to ignore the advise given at time of purchase by her solicitor...well...  she took her chances.... and sadly has been found out...  

Gardening Grandma
mikey Dee wrote (see)

I too have read the article in the Daily Mail. It stated thet the garden had become a "haven for wildlife", which included frogs, newts, birds and insects. The key thing here is "Newts". If Mrs Bailey happens to have any Great Crested Newts in her garden/pond, then the council will not be able to make her disturb her garden in any way, shape or form. These creatures are heavily protected by law, and disturbing them or their habitat is a criminal offence. Hope this helps

I was thinking along these lines myself so this is useful information. Council officials have a difficult job to do but sometimes, sheer legalism is not a good answer. Humanity and common sense are also required.


Reading through this again it appears that some opinions have shifted now more information has come to light-yesterday there was talk of "jobsworths" and marches on Westminster-today the more measured approach seems to be that the much maligned council officials have a difficult job to do-which is the point I was making yesterday

There is a phrase-never let the facts get in the way of a good story-so perhaps now Snowdrop 3 -having read this as well-now what do you think?

Has your position shifted at all?

I still feel the same, ie that the council were too heavy handed.  Gardening Grandma actually ehcoes my feelings and has stated it more elonquently than I did.


It is a sad story, but the person at fault here is the solicitor, not the lady or the council. She will easily have a case if the paperwork from the solicitor doesn't mention anything about development. I think the whole point of going to the papers is they have actually examined the documents (which will be standard letters pre drawn up) and found they were told it shouldn't be developed. Whether they didn't realise that a garden counts as non-agriculural development is by the by, ignorance is no form of defence. You can't drive at 60 in a 30 zone then claim to the police you didn't know it was a 30, you'll still be nicked!

Yes it seems stupid, but rules are there for a reason, this sets a precedent, so everyone else can have similar chunks added to their gardens, before you know it, acres of greenbelt has gone! It seems harsh on this lady but not everyone will make a nice garden, some will just leave it go overgrown etc. They need to be enforcing this everywhere, because loads of Greenbelt land is disappearing fast.

I also find it odd that considering they have had ponds all their lives, why have fish if you want frogs and newts? I don't believe the newts will be great crested, otherwise that'd be all over the paper too. Anyways, a harsh lesson, but goes to show do your preperation work thoroughly, can get very expensive!

Gardening Grandma

People's initial reaction to this story was outrage because it goes against obvious natural justice and that fact remains. The ten feet of land will simply be a neglected area and that helps nobody. Since she can keep animals or grow crops the obvious answer is to do so and get a few chickens or ducks. The latter would then make the pond a sensible thing to have. But the real answer remains to allow the lady to do what she likes with this pathetic ten feet of land which are of benefit to nobody else. I am sorry that others feel that it is important to apply the regulations, and I do see that others might want to do the same, but  plenty of people have bought a bit of a field to add to their gardens without any great moral law being broken. This is much more a question of what use she puts it to -  and mowing and having a pond are obviously beyond the pale. neglected is OK. Hmmmm...


Ahh, but one must uphold the law GG.  

As I have said before on this forum, we are all entitled to our own opinion.  I won't try and browbeat into submission those who have a different opinion to mine and hope that they won't try and make me change my mind.  Having had experience of being in the wrong side of  the planning authorities, I know that it is possible to reach a happy conclusion for all.  Just needs a little give and take.

I can only assume that most people who post here have no direct experience of the problems people can have with the planning authorities, ref use of agricultural land.  My neighbours and I have - and are continuing to have - a huge problem with what's happening on the land which adjoins their land & house, and (a few yards away) mine.  Some so-called "portable" sheds have been erected in connection with a poultry business - the sheds are not in any way portable, and some now have a permanent mains power supply.  The person concerned contravenes all sorts of rules & regs ref housing/movement of livestock and in spite of a court case (which he lost) continues to do so. Although various agencies have been involved - from the  RSPCA & Trading Standards etc to other government departments, so far he's still getting away with it.  For this reason, if no other, I believe that we must try to insist that the various laws are complied with, whatever other so-called "mitigating circumstances" might seem to apply.  As I said in an earlier post, I feel sorry for the lady in question if she has inadvertently contravened planning laws - but whatever laws are in place, they should apply/be adhered to by everyone - and I wish they were being fully enforced here!

Gardening Grandma

Hypercharleyfarley, i am really sorry to hear of your problem, and the heavy handed action taken by the council in Jean Bailey's case, by the sound of things, seems fully appropriate in the case you mention. I have also lived near a chicken farm! Treating Jean B in the same way seems to me to be not appropriate, however, and all cases can't be treated the same.

It is very striking that there was an initial cry of outrage (there's another thread that mentions this lady) but now this has gone very quiet. People are very persuadable, sometimes, and the tide of opinion has changed.  The circumstances haven't.

Tina, the law must be upheld. That's a vital principle. But it is also true that unjust or foolish laws should not be upheld but changed. Furthermore, supposing that this is a just law that applies in all cases, even the law courts recognise that penalties should not be the same for all who have broken the law. That's why one person might get two years in jail while others get only a suspended sentence. A 'suspended sentence' in this case would be perfectly acceptable - rap her over the knuckles, tell her never to do it again, and let her off!



So the neighbours do the same-do the same rules apply?-they can get away with this as well?

What about round the corner- they can do what they want? -and say if she can and why not us?

So where does this end?

There is a lot more to this story that some "heavy handed" attitude by the Council-of that you can be sure.


Well, surprise, surprise.  Knew it wouldn't work. 


No Geoffrey,  There is now a more up-to-date version posted 4 hours ago.  It seems she has a lot of support.  Tut, tut. What is the world coming to.