Planning issues funny responses

The shed friendly telegraph reports.

An architect’s wickedly sarcastic replies to pointless questions on a planning form have made him an unwitting champion for all those exasperated by bureaucracy.

John Jessop earned a cult following among his colleagues after his withering comments were leaked in an e-mail which has been sent all round the country.

After being asked to fill in a “design access statement” for a storage shed on a small farm, he wrote: “The density is like on a farm, the social context is a farm in the country, the economic context is farming in the United Kingdom in 2008 (which is not very economic), the opportunities are to store equipment inside rather than the outside, the constraint is the planning system.”

And under a section headed Context Analysis, he said: “The use is compatible with a farm because it is a farm building.

“It is located where it is because it is in the most convenient place, being on the farm and near the farmhouse.”

Mr Jessop said he launched his attack on planning red tape after the planning and amenities department of Mendip District Council in Somerset sent him a lengthy form with what he saw as a serious of “silly” questions.

The document was to enable them to assess the impact the shed would have on the surrounding area.

Under “scale, appearance and landscaping”, Mr Jessop wrote: “The building is a single storey with the central section raised to allow for higher equipment.

“It can not be lower because nothing could be stored in it. It is not made any higher because that would be silly.

“It looks like a typical modern agricultural shed in a green profiled metal sheeting because that is what it is, and a great architect once said ‘Buildings should look like what they are’.

“The applicant and previous occupants have spent a long time, probably more than a thousand years, making the countryside around the house look like farmland so that everyone can enjoy the pretty English countryside.”

Clearly warming to his theme, Mr Jessop’s reply to the “access” section reads: “There is an airport at Bristol which can be accessed by driving your tractor along the road.

“This gives direct access to warm sunny places all over the world. There is a bus service to North Wooton which allows people from the local towns to come and visit the proposed shed.

“The access from the road is level concrete and tarmac which is good for wheelchairs but the tractors may make it a bit muddy.

“This could cause difficulties for people so the design includes space for some brushes to sweep away the muck.”

Mr Jessop, of Carlisle Jessop Architects in Wells, Somerset, said: “Had the farm been just a little larger I wouldn’t have had to fill out a design access statement, as the farmer could’ve just built the shed and made a retrospective planning application.

“But this may take a couple of months to sort out – all for something as basic as a storage shed. It just seemed a little silly.

“The response I’ve had since has been incredible, architects from as far as Scotland, Wales, Birmingham and Manchester have contacted me to say ‘good on you!’ and ‘nice one’.

“One guy had even said he’d had my design access statement passed on to him from a friend in Vienna. I never realised it would cause such a stir, it was just a tongue-on-cheek attack on council red tape.”

Mendip District Council Development Services confirmed they received the application on March 18 and said the matter had yet to be determined.

A spokesman said: “There was no problem registering the statement because, believe it or not, it covered all the relevant criteria.

“As long as the architect answers all the relevant headings then it doesn’t really matter what the tone of the application is.”

Nicked wholly from the telegraph.

By Andrew Wilcox

I love sheds Founder & judge of Shed of the year - Wilco writes mainly about sheds. About the blog Enter your shed into #shedoftheyear