The size of the garage in Hixon, near Stafford, which was originally constructed eight years ago as permitted development, meant it fell outside allowed limits.
But Stafford Borough Council is now unable to take enforcement action as the structure was not built within the past four years, a planning committee meeting heard on Wednesday.
A retrospective application to retain the building at Puddle Hill was put forward in late 2020. On Wednesday borough councillors approved the plans, as well as an extension to enable it to be converted into a bungalow.
Brian Edgecombe, who spoke in support of the plans, said a local need for single-torey homes had been identified and five members of the community had written in support of the application.
He added: “It fits well with the street scene and highways have no objection. Your planning officer has recommended it for approval.”
But ward councillor Brendan McKeown, who called in the plans for consideration by the planning committee, questioned whether the building would have been approved if it had not already been constructed.
He said: “The garage measures 11m by 11m – it’s an industrial-sized garage that can accommodate eight cars. Everything about it is wrong, it’s ugly and out of place.”
Committee members had mixed views over the appearance of the building but voted to approve the application by seven votes to three.
Councillor Carolyn Trowbridge said: “I’m for bungalows – we don’t have anywhere near enough bungalows. But it is an ugly building.”
Councillor Jack Kemp said: “There is no two ways about it – that is an industrial building, it’s not a house.”
Councillor Rob Kenney said: “It is out of keeping with the area.”
But Councillor Ann Edgeller said: “It is a vast improvement on the garage and it’s something we desperately need.”