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We bought my son a two-storey Wendy house for Christmas. We put it on the front lawn because our back garden is elegantly landscaped and it would look out of place there. However, our neighbour has complained. He mentioned something about breaching planning rules and calling the council. Surely this is an empty threat?

Unfortunately, your neighbour has the law on his side. Planning permission is required for any building situated nearer the public highway than the original house. It may seem bizarre, but “buildings” include garden sheds and even children’s Wendy houses.

So I need planning permission? The council wouldn’t bother taking action for a child’s Wendy house, would they?

Actually, there have been several cases where people have been forced to take down Wendy houses, because they did not have planning permission. Failure to comply with a council-issued enforcement notice could result in a fine of up to £20,000.

This sounds serious. How easy is it to apply for planning permission?

In one recent case, a couple was forced by the council to make a planning application after a neighbour’s complaint. It cost them £172.

Is it worth the time and money?

In the case mentioned above, the couple’s application was turned down because it was deemed too large and too conspicuous. The council decided that it had to be taken down.

It looks like I will have to move it to the back garden. I’m assuming there would be no issue with this?

The majority of Wendy houses will not need planning permission if they are in the back garden. Permission is only required for a building which covers more than half the garden, which is not for domestic use or which is more than three metres high with a pent roof or four metres high with an apex roof. Buildings which are placed within two metres of a boundary and more than 2.5 metres high will also require planning permission.

Alexandra Cooke is a trainee solicitor at King and Wood Mallesons

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