‘Monster Mansion’ planning battle ends as owner finally starts demolishing home

The rear of a shell of a brick self build home
A man who built a unauthorised home described as a "Monster Mansion" has finally begun removing the structure after a three-year planning battle (Image credit: Google Earth)

A man in Walsall is removing a house he built without permission after a prolonged three-year planning battle.

Gurwinder Singh, 43, 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’.

Mr Singh repeatedly ignored the council's requests to tear down the structure but after being threatened with enforcement action, work has now begun to remove the house.

Man bulldozed 1960s home without permission

Mr Singh was initially given planning permission for a modest extension to his 1960s house in 2020, but he instead decided to demolish the entire building and put up a new self build home.

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 with the council receiving 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.

The home Mr Singh demolished to accommodate his four-bedroom property

The previous home on the corner of the street was of similar size to the surrounding properties before it was torn down (Image credit: Google Street View)

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 claimed "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 added.

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

The front of a self build with screens in front. The home is empty and is just the brick walls and roof

The build was said to put neighbouring homeowners through "hell" with planning authorities promising to put the "‘force’ back into enforcement" (Image credit: Google Earth)

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."

Removal begins after previous requests were ignored

After ignoring two previous deadlines given by Walsall Council to remove the structure Mr Singh finally began work on removing the house on December 7.

Mr Singh's appeal to the planning inspectorate was dismissed last year and he was ordered on October 7 and then November 7 to remove the structure and all below-ground works, which he ignored.

After missing these deadlines the council said it would be "monitoring the compliance" with a spokesperson for the council stating: "Following the dismissal of an appeal against the enforcement notice to demolish the unlawful partially constructed dwelling, the enforcement notice recommenced. 

"Within the notice there are a series of deadlines for compliance, the first of these was October 7, 2023, to demolish the partially constructed dwelling and outbuilding to ground level.

"The council is monitoring the compliance of the enforcement notice. If the owner is still in breach of the enforcement notice after the final April 7, 2024 deadline, the council will present the case to court."

The council warned if work did not begin by their final deadline the council would enter the land and carry out the works and would pursue Mr Singh for the costs. Following this warning Mr Singh complied with the December 7 deadline and began removing the house.

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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