Small Woodland Owners' Group

Wood store

Paperwork, grants, legal issues

Wood store

Postby hazelnuts » Fri Jan 15, 2016 5:11 pm

Another planning nightmare
Log store in my woodland about 8 feet square by 8 feet high (all logs from my own woodland) ; a post at each corner, plastic sheeting roof and lengths of bamboo around the sides to hold the logs in and allow ventilation.
Just received a letter from local planners for alleged breach of planning regulations requesting me to remove it or apply for retrospective permission. This will cost me money.
I am sure this is at the prompting of a neighbour I had to warn off for encroachment onto the woodland and is a looking for some petty revenge.
It cannot be seen from any public areas and is not near any residential boundaries.
During the course of my conversation with a planning officer I discovered that a log pile would be OK as would a log pile covered with a tarpaulin as these can not be considered structures.
There seems to be no limit to the size of any potential log pile as long as it is my own timber so the complainant could end up regretting their action.

Does anybody know if there is legal definition for structures in woodland?
This is my second problem with planners.
I wanted to erect a small tool store for chainsaws etc. about two years ago which would have been completely invisible to the public but I would have been required to apply for full planning permission and that would have been a public document so all the local thieves would have known exactly where to go for their Christmas shopping.
Common sense doesn't have a place in planning law.
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Re: Wood store

Postby Wendelspanswick » Fri Jan 15, 2016 5:40 pm

You don't have to apply for Full Planning Permission for a shed in a woodland, you can normally achieve the same result through Prior Notification.
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Re: Wood store

Postby Binz » Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:03 am

could you class it as a temporary structure? i.e. will only be there for 'x' amount of time while you season wood. I don't think temporary structures require permission so maybe check that with planners. I'm not sure if there's a defined period for temporary, so maybe you could agree its temporary and will be taken down in, say, 3 years time. Then it's up to the planners to check if you do or don't.
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Re: Wood store

Postby oldclaypaws » Sat Jan 16, 2016 10:32 am

Frankly I'd never leave power tools in a woodland store, that's asking for trouble and the very thing thieves are looking for in order to sell them at boot fairs. Just take chainsaws home- it's no big deal to keep them at home and chuck them in the boot of the car when required. I leave no portable high value items in my barn. The other frequently nicked item is batteries due to the scrap value. They tend not to take low value bulky items like old wheelbarrows, saw horses and bulky logs.

You also don't need a roof over logs for them to season. Just stack them loosely off the ground in the open and they'll season in a few months. In the summer or early autumn before required for use, cut to size and stack at home in a log store.

For most typical small woodland maintenance I'm not sure a shed is 100% necessary- we managed 3 years without one, just bringing tools as required on the day. Its a nice place for shelter if you can get consent, but then there's always temporary alternatives as required like caravans, tents, awnings, etc. The need only really arises if you have lots of very bulky stuff that can't be taken off site. Planners will always look at necessity.
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Re: Wood store

Postby hazelnuts » Sat Jan 16, 2016 6:15 pm

Thanks for the replies
The trouble with Prior Notification is it only works if nobody objects and I am sure this particular person would . You then have to go through the full Planning Process which costs money and there is no guarantee of success in this case. A caravan may be the answer eventually. I believe that's untouchable as long as it's not residential. Looking on the bright side I can make the wood pile as big as I like without a wood store so I think I'll take that option As for the tool store, the woodland is alongside my house and I could have seen it from there. But I have a very small garden which is already overfull with other stuff.
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Re: Wood store

Postby Wendelspanswick » Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:49 pm

They can only reject your Prior Notification if it doesn't meet the required criteria, the LA cannot refuse it because a neighbour doesn't like the look of it etc.
A Prior Notification does not require notices to be published in the vicinity although it does appear on the LA website during the 28 day consultation period.
You'd be better off researching Prior Notification properly, Field To Farm is a good resource.
Using a caravan for storage is a grey area as well.

How big is your woodland?
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Re: Wood store

Postby Rankinswood » Sun Jan 17, 2016 6:46 am

Hi Wendelspanswick et al,

I concurr with your advice re submitting a Prior Notification to the local council. Two days ago the 28 day consultation period on my own Prior Notification to build a cruck framed barn in my woodland located in an AONB expired. I received an unconditional approval from the council to proceed 2 hours before expiry of the 28 day period. This barn is 9 metres long x 5 metres wide and 6.3 metres high and is to be positioned more than 25 metres from the nearest road.

I submitted this notification on the evening of the 17 December via the government's planning portal. A fee of £80 was payable when making the submission with this being duly received and receipted by the local council the following day. Due to the approaching festive season and the local council's Christmas / New Year office shut down it took the council until 04th January to appoint a planning case officer who then started the formal consultation process. This effectively reduced the local notification consultation period to 11 days.

The Prior Notification was sent to the local Parish Council and the Council's woodland officer. Local neighbours do not appear to have been notified.
The Parish Council failed to reply and the tree officer submited a brief statement of support based on the NEED for this building to store the alpine tractor / trailer that I intend to buy to assist me managing the woodland under a Continuous Cover Forestry management policy regularly taking only the Forestry Commission's 5 cubic metres quarterly felling allowance (i.e. without the need to have a woodland management plan).

Initially I thought that simply producing a set of building drawings and site plan was all that was needed however by interrogating the local council website the real work was actually in the preparation of the DESIGN & ACCESS statement together with a LANDSCAPE ASSESSMENT statement which required studying a massive county wide Landscape Study and reviewing same to see how my proposed development might contravene or comply with the Council's adopted Landscape policy.

There is a small hamlet close by to my woodland containing ten buildings including 2 crucks. I obtained owners permission to survey and record these cruck buildings so that I could produce a truely local vernacular cruck barn design to be built using only trees felled and converted in our woodland. I undertook local archive research and discovered that since 1900 four large barns have been lost in the local hamlet due to changes in agricultural practice now leaving only one barn that has just been given permission to be converted to a house and so I promoted the idea that our proposed barn should therefore become a welcome addition into the AONB landscape helping to restock what has been lost.

It is important therefore to define the real NEED for your building and then to develop a well thought out argument and implementation strategy. At no time did I talk with the council's planning officer to try and "sell" my idea or make excuses for same but instead placed total reliance on the quality of my Prior Notification submission

I readily confess that this whole process has taken its toll on me especially during the consultation process and so I think that I will now take a few days off just to sit in the woodland and watch the bluebells grow.

If anyone needs some help in respect of the preparation of a Prior Notification submission then please send me a PM.

Rankinswood
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Re: Wood store

Postby Wendelspanswick » Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:37 pm

Congratulations!!!
You obviously had a well thought out plan of action and it has paid off.
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