See you in court

A council in Hertfordshire has threatened a legal challenge to Planning Policy Guidance in respect of barn conversions under the GPDO (DCS Number 400-013-437).

The basis of the council’s refusal of prior approval for the residential conversion of the barn was that it would result in a dwelling in an isolated location. An appeal inspector pointed out, however, that Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) confirms, in relation to the Class Q permitted development rights, that

‘…When considering whether it is appropriate for the change of use to take place in a particular location, a local planning authority should start from the premise that the permitted development right grants planning permission, subject to the prior approval requirements. That an agricultural building is in a location where the local planning authority would not normally grant planning permission for a new dwelling is not a sufficient reason for refusing prior approval…’

The council referred to paragraph W.10 of Part 3 of the GPDO, which required it, when determining an application under Class Q, to have regard to the National Planning Policy Framework as if the application were a planning application. The council argued that the government did not ‘clarify’ the terms of the GPDO when it was amended in April 2015, the inspector recorded. He took the view, however, that the PPG provides adequately clear advice concerning the correct approach to apply. He acknowledged that the interpretation of the GPDO is a matter for the courts and that the council had stated that it intended to challenge the approach set out in the PPG, but he reasoned that there was no case law in place which indicated that the approach in the PPG should not be followed.

Costs were awarded to the appellant.

Watch this space.

The following DCP section is relevant: 4.3423

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