Shed, carport rules considered

Marlborough home owners might soon be able to erect small garden sheds and free-standing car ports without a building consent.

Marlborough District Council building control group leader Bill East presented a report to the council's environment committee yesterday that proposed amendments to how council enforced the Building Act 2004.

The proposed amendments would allow a garden shed of 10 square metres and a free-standing carport of less than 20sqm to be built without consent. The shed could be positioned no closer than 3 centimetres to a boundary and could not be lived in.

Existing exemptions allowed people to build garden sheds as close to the boundary line as they wanted. There was also no boundary stated for free-standing car ports.

East said he had been called to many neighbourly disputes over building garden sheds and carports.

"It can cause all sorts of trouble . . . it's a total waste of our time."

The building control group had considered the risks of the amendment, but believed both types of structure posed very little risk to people or properties in Marlborough.

Committee chairman Peter Jerram asked East if he thought there would be any objections to the proposal. East said the only objections would come from people wanting to "have a go at their neighbour."

Blenheim councillor Laressa Shenfield said the decision was very much a "commonsense situation".

The report also said garden sheds were generally kitsets sold at retail stores which provided no guidance to their customers on the requirements.

"The council's experience confirms that most purchasers are unaware of the Building Act requirements and in most cases the sheds are positioned against or near to boundary fences," the report read.

The committee agreed to take the proposal to full council.