I'm being ordered to destroy my TOILET and shed by council but I refuse – I won’t back down as I want to help people | The Sun

A MAN is refusing council orders to destroy his toilet and shed, saying he won't back down because he wants to help people.

Stephen Windsor has vowed to fight "all the way" to preserve the buildings he put up in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the Cotswolds.

He put up the toilet and shed in Quarry Woods in the village of Box in Wiltshire.

The 64-year-old bought the area of woodland in 2021 and says he plans to make it accessible for disabled people.

The first phase of the project in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was completed when he built a tool shed equipped with a composting toilet.

But the area is covered by a high level of environmental protection as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to a rare bat population.

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And locals have raised concerns about the use of the site, including fears that more people could move in ahead.

No planning permission was gained for the development.

Wiltshire Council has ordered him to demolish the two buildings as they were situated in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and an SSSI.

He was found guilty of failing to comply with an enforcement notice at Salisbury Magistrates' Court on February 16 this year.

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And he then lost a crown court appeal on July 28 and was ordered to pay the council's costs of £1,700.

But he insists he will not allow the buildings to be demolished and says will "exhaust every avenue" to protect his work.

He said: "We're appealing and will take this all the way – I'm not going to stop because the council can't get away with this.

"It's going to be a beautiful thing and it is in keeping with the woodland – there's no water, electricity or gas and you can't see it from more than 20 metres away.

"I think it's disgusting that the council would do this – I'm totally stressed all the time over this and just gobsmacked."

He believes he does not require planning permission as the structure is moveable and not attached to the ground.

The council have now applied for an injunction to push through the destruction of the shed.

Cllr Nick Botterill, cabinet member for development management, said: "We are passionate about protecting Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty that fall within Wiltshire and our enforcement officers will take any action necessary to protect them.

"At this time Mr Windsor has still not complied with the enforcement notice and has in fact carried out further unlawful development on the site.

"As a result, an application for a High Court injunction has been made which if successful will order the defendant to demolish the two buildings and remove the material."

Friends of Quarry Woods, a community group set up to preserve the nature site, supports the council's intervention.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: "We are pleased to see that Wiltshire County Council are taking the strong legal protections of this site seriously, and hope they continue to do so for other sites across the county.

"The woods are hugely important for wildlife – including rare and protected bats – and for our community's wellbeing.

"We hope they will be safeguarded and appropriately managed for future generations."

There are ways people can carry out improvements or extensions to property without needing planning permission.

These come under permitted development rights which apply to homes in England.

They allow developers to change buildings such as offices into homes and also enable homeowners to build small extensions.

Building a shed, a garden home office or a Wendy house will not usually need planning permission.

But they will do if they are larger than 15 sq m, are slept in or take up more than half your garden.

People living in a terraced house or a semi-detached house can extend their home by three metres outwards at the back and by no more than four metres in height in a single storey.

Detached house-owners can go four metres back and four metres high.

Other permitted development rights allow a porch less than three metres square and changes of use such as loft, garage and basement conversions.


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They also enable energy-generating equipment such as solar panels – though not wind turbines – as well as satellite dishes, rooflights and dormer windows.

But planning experts say homes in protected areas such as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty tend to be excluded.

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