A couple of recent appeals illustrate the difficulty faced by local planning authorities in determining whether or not residential annexes comprise ancillary accommodation.
In the first case (DCS Number 200-003-920) a granny annexe in a west Wales village was accepted as being ancillary to the main house. Here, the house and the annexe would be attached by means of a short glazed link. The council was concerned that the annexe, comprising a living room, kitchen, utility room, conservatory, bedroom with en suite facilities, and space in the roof, could be used as a separate residential unit. The inspector decided, however, that a number of factors which included the proximity of the annexe to the house, and shared garden and parking, pointed to the unit being used as ancillary accommodation. Therefore, it would not conflict with the council’s local needs policy.
On the other hand…
Ancillary accommodation proposed at a house in rural Warwickshire was turned down at appeal, in part due to its distance from the main house (DCS Number 400-008-419). The annexe would comprise a large living, dining and kitchen area together with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The inspector was concerned that the annexe would be sited 20m from the house, and the appellants were vague as to who would occupy it. A condition limiting occupation of the annexe to ancillary accommodation would be inappropriate, he decided, as it would be next to impossible to detect a breach.
So, both of these proposed annexes would be relatively large but one was allowed, the other dismissed. The greatest difference between them would seem to be the distance from the host dwelling. So all we have to decide is how close is close enough and how far is too far. Simples.
The following DCP chapter is relevant: 10.2