- Carol Jones and her husband built the two storey home with two double bedrooms, ensuites and modern kitchen
- The couple fixed a fake double garage door to the outside in a bid to fool the authorities
- They lived in it for two years before renting it to two tenants before neighbours tipped off the local council
A property developer has been given six months to tear down a secret house which she built disguised as a garage.
Carol Jones, 46, designed the plush two-storey home, complete with two double bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and modern kitchen, under the guise of a garage workshop in her back garden.
She and her builder husband Andy, 46, erected the 30ft high building in 2006 to live in while they were building their bigger house just yards away.
The couple only had permission to build a garage and workshop on the plot, but went ahead and built the two-bedroom home instead – fixing a fake double garage door to the outside in a bid to fool the authorities. But at the back of the building, they installed a satellite dish, three skylights on the pitched roof and a kitchen window overlooking rolling countryside.
The case bears similarities to a couple who disguised their £500,000 home as a hay barn and lost a four-year legal battle to save it last year.
Property developer Alan Beesley and his wife Sarah, from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, had been granted permission to build a barn for agricultural use – but then fitted it out as a luxury two-storey home.
They tried to outwit council planners by disguising their house as a windowless barn and surrounding it with farmyard machinery.
‘After the dwelling came to the attention of the council, the appellant has tried, without success, to find a loophole in the planning system that would enable her to retain the dwelling.
‘First, she fraudulently tried to argue that the building had initially been built as a garage and then subsequently converted to a dwelling.
‘When that approach was unsuccessful, instead, in the current appeal, she has admitted the building had been erected as a dwelling but she has tried to argue that due to the passage of time, it was too late for the council to take enforcement action.’
Mrs Jones was given six months to strip the building of its bathrooms, kitchen and internal partition wall which prevented it from being used as a garage.
Following the ruling, Councillor Tony Penn, the district council’s portfolio holder for planning and housing, said: ‘This case should be a warning to others who believe they can obtain retrospective permission through deliberate concealment of an unauthorised development.’