Posts By: dcplatest

Wriggle room



An inspector who refused permission for a temporary mobile home associated with a vermiculture enterprise in north Yorkshire (DCS Number 200-006-878) might have opened a can of worms.

The appellant explained that he needed to be on hand to ensure the correct environment for the worms was maintained, as failure of the systems could result in a sudden mass exodus of worms out of the tubs and onto the dry and dusty floor which would result in death within minutes. The council, however, provided evidence that a number of dwellings had been available for both sale and rent in recent times in the village which could provide nearby accommodation for the appellant. Taking this and all other factors into account, the inspector was not convinced that the mobile home would be essential for the operation of the enterprise.

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A classic case



The issue of the planning unit comes up not infrequently, particularly in enforcement cases. As an inspector has recorded and helpfully set out in his decision (DCS Number 400-016-723), the classic definition is found in Burdle v Secretary of State for the Environment [1972]. Readers might find it useful to keep this somewhere handy.

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New to the area



Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework states that local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside unless there are special circumstances. These circumstances include the exceptional quality or innovative nature of the design of the dwelling. This is national policy; it’s in the name.

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Dig deep



Subterranean houses in the rural area are proposed not infrequently, their below ground design being a response to concern about their impact on the landscape. Whilst they can achieve a measure of success, their potential to increase car travel will often count against them. In a more unusual case in east London an appellant has gained planning permission, having applied the same design principle to concern about the character and appearance of the suburban area (DCS Number 400-016-586). In these circumstances, of course, there is no issue in relation to the sustainability credentials of the location.

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On the ground



Once a settlement boundary has been defined it is easy to see it as fixed and not to be breached. However, an inspector dealing with an appeal against the refusal of outline permission for a house in the green belt in Essex took account of case law set out in Julian Wood v SoS and Gravesham Borough Council [2015] which found that the term “village” is not necessarily the same as a settlement boundary, and that there is a need to consider the facts on the ground (DCS Number 400-016-397).

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