Victory for March couple as councillors see ‘common sense’ and approve shed

Bottom and middle top: The shed in Papworth Road, March, under fire from planners. Top L and R examp

Bottom and middle top: The shed in Papworth Road, March, under fire from planners. Top L and R examples of other sheds in March. - Credit: Archant

A shed in a March street that could have been torn down due to planning regulations has been approved to stay despite councillors being divided during a near-40 minute debate.

It was tears of joy from homeowners Mark and Helena Mueller, who had been subject to scrutiny over the £2,000 shed– and self-proclaimed “man cave” – since they were forced to apply for respective permission to keep it in Papworth Road.

However, a 100-strong petition and support from neighbouring residents eventually swayed councillors at Fenland District Council to approve the build today (November 7).

“We never intended to deceive anyone, the shed simply stores tools, a bicycle and it’s my man cave,” Mr Mueller told the planning committee.

“I have heard that common sense is not very common anymore, but in this instance I hope that I am proved wrong.”

Speaking on behalf of the Muellers’, March Mayor Councillor Jan French said that in 19 years of her time on the council she had “never seen such support for a wooden shed or other application”.

Cllr French said: “This is retrospect because the couple were unaware that planning was needed.

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“This application is positive. They have taken pride in their properties and this is a prime example of someone looking after the area.

“If something like this was refused then it’s sending out a wrong message to residents who would like to bring their houses up to a high standard.”

Councillors dissected the application – which was recommended for refusal by planning officers – with the chamber divided in opinion.

Councillor Dee Laws called for the application to be taken “in the spirit of planning”, while Councillor David Connor urged “common sense” to be used in the light of other applications.

However, Councillor Will Sutton said that by approving the shed to stay it would “open up the flood gates” for others to build without permission.

“The visible impact outweighs anything else and we need to remember policy,” he added.

Eventually, councillors approved the shed with five votes for and four against.

The wooden structure stands by the side of the property with a fence surrounding it in Papworth Road on the junction of Henry Orbell Close.