Man who built a detached house on his driveway without planning consent dodges punishment – after turning it into the garage that he did have permission for all along

A resident who built what looked like a small detached house on his driveway without planning permission has now converted it into a garage.

The homeowner – Mr Singh – was originally given approval to build a single-storey garage on Vaughton Street, in Highgate, Birmingham, in 2019.

But instead he decided to build a small two-storey house on his driveway – with four separate rooms.

Shocked planning bosses ordered him to demolish the house after a failed appeal in which he claimed there were only ‘minor’ differences to a garage.

New photos show he finally turned the residential building into an actual garage.

However, this may not be the end of the planning battle as Mr Singh has been ordered to completely demolish it in 2022.

Photos show he eventually turned the residential building into an actual garage

Photos show he eventually turned the residential building into an actual garage

A preview of the 'garage' taken in 2022
An after photo of the 'garage' taken in 2024

A before and after of the ‘garage’ taken in 2022 and 2024

The garage is now a single storey and the 'front door' has been removed
The garage is now a single storey and the 'front door' has been removed

The garage is now a single storey and the ‘front door’ has been removed

Now only a single window can be seen above the garage door

Now only a single window can be seen above the garage door

Mr Singh’s family also said they used the mini-property as a gym and were defiant – insisting it stay put.

The building was complete with windows, an antechamber, front door and roof extension.

A woman who answered the door of the home declined to comment when approached.

One resident, who wished to remain anonymous today, said: ‘They are nice people and they just built it for themselves.

‘They were very courteous to people who came by while the work was being done and always made sure it was neat and tidy.

“They never made trouble for anybody around here.”

Those who live in the area have labeled the original structure an ‘eyesore’.

They said: ‘Looks like they’ve finally complied with the order and thank goodness because it’s been an eyesore.

‘It’s nice to see that common sense has now prevailed.

‘They’ll be kicking themselves though, it must have cost them a few bob to throw it up in the first place and now have to pay to mostly pull it off.

A Google Street View image of the property in 2009 before the application to build the garage

A Google Street View image of the property in 2009 before the application to build the garage

The original plans submitted to Birmingham City Council showed traditional garages

The original plans submitted to Birmingham City Council showed traditional garages

The property was reportedly used by the family as a mini-gym

The property was reportedly used by the family as a mini-gym

The windows have been removed in the new converted building

The windows have been removed in the new converted building

‘It’s hard to sympathize with them too much, though, because they were clearly wrong.

“They’ve been working on it for a few weeks now and it definitely looks more like a garage.”

Another neighbor said: ‘We just assumed they had permission to do it in the first place.

‘You’re never happy to see extensions or new buildings that shut out sunlight or replace gardens and trees, but that’s just what people do.

‘But if it was only given permission to be a garage, I can’t see how they thought they’d ever get away with it. It is clearly a house.

“How on earth they intended to pass it off as a garage, only God knows.”

Mr Singh was given until July to get rid of the new building because it breached the original planning permission.

Planners originally gave approval for a 5.3m x 4.6m garage to be built at the site, which exceeded the new building by several metres.

Planning inspector Thomas Shields wrote in his report after visiting the house: ‘The appellant’s case is that the building already benefits from planning permission granted by the council in 2019.

He submits that although there are differences between the approved plans for the garage and the appeal building, they are minor differences.

‘The approved plans for the garage show a single storey detached garage with a footprint of 5.3m x 4.6m and a height of 3.6m.

‘It was also shown to have a standard garage door at the front and no windows at any height.

‘Compared to the approved garage, the appeal building has a footprint of approximately 8.7m x 4.7m and a height of 5.3m.

Builders hard at work on the property pictured in January 2023

Builders hard at work on the property pictured in January 2023

‘As a result, it is significantly larger than the approved building. It is not a small difference.’

Mr Shields continued: ‘Instead of being single storey, the appeal building is 1.5 storeys and has two rooms in the roof, facilitated by an almost full width box roof.

‘Instead of a garage door, there is a pedestrian door to the front room and a triple arched window.

‘Two more windows in the rear view serve a separate, smaller room.

‘All these differences between what was approved and what was built are not minor.

‘As the appeal building bears little resemblance to the scale and design of the approved single storey garage, it does not benefit from that planning permission.

‘The requirements of the notice are: demolish the entire unauthorized detached structure and remove all demolished building materials and rubbish from the premises.’

Birmingham City Council previously said: ‘We served an EN (enforcement notice) for the demolition of the unauthorized structure when the owner lost on appeal.

‘We are in discussion with the owner’s timeline. Compliance with the notice was due by 1 July 2022.’

A spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Planning permission was granted on 7 March 2019 for a single storey detached garage to the side of the property.

‘The building erected after that consent bore little resemblance to the original scale and design, consequently enforcement action followed and remedial works carried out to reduce its size, returning it to its intended use as a storage/garage.

‘Planning permission was already in place for a very similar building, so no further action was deemed necessary.’