The house that was disguised as a garage: Property developer ordered to gut home built to fool planning inspectors

  • 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.’