The chairwoman of Barnet Council's Hendon area planning sub-committee erected a shed in her back garden last year without the necessary planning permission, it has emerged.

Councillor Maureen Braun installed the three-metre-high shed in her garden in Victoria Road, Mill Hill, last year. But because the shed is within five metres of her home, it requires planning permission in line with national regulations.

The former cabinet member for social care submitted an application for planning permission to the council in April, but it was only accepted three months later owing to missing information. The sub-committee was due to vote on the application last night.

In the council papers for the meeting, planning officers state: "The proposal is not considered to have a significant impact on the character and appearance of the area and residential amenities of occupiers of surrounding properties and is accordingly recommended for approval."

But Laurence Bard, who lives two doors away from Ms Braun, said: "The property is already extended - the garden shed' is in effect an extension by stealth. This is bad enough under normal circumstances, disgusting when the applicant is the chair of the Hendon area planning committee.

"It takes light from the immediate neighbours and, to a lesser extent, from my property. Instead of a sunset, I get to see a big shed."

A Labour group spokesman said: "Councillor Maureen Braun can't have broken the planning laws on purpose by building this big shed without permission, so it must be just sheer ignorance on her part.

"Having said that, it's rather worrying that the chair of the Hendon planning committee doesn't have even a basic knowledge of planning law.

"There obviously needs to be some more training for some councillors, particularly given that planning decisions must not only be fair, but importantly they must also be seen to be fair. Otherwise residents are left wondering if there is one rule for councillors and another rule for everyone else."