A close match?

Readers dealing with domestic extensions will be aware that Condition A.3(a) of Schedule 2, Part 1, Class A of the GPDO requires the materials used in any exterior work to be of a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the exterior of the existing dwellinghouse. The Technical Guidance for Householders offers guidance on what this ought to mean in practice but to some extent the meaning of ‘similar appearance’ must be drawn from precedent. On this basis, a recent appeal case in southwest London (DCS Number 400-014-332) is of interest.

The inspector noted that the Technical Guidance states that the condition is ‘intended to ensure that any works to enlarge, alter or improve a house result in an appearance that minimises visual impact and is sympathetic to existing development. This means that the materials used should be of similar visual appearance to those in the existing house, but does not mean that they need to be the same materials. For example the external walls of an extension should be constructed of materials that provide a similar visual appearance – for example in terms of colour and style of brick used – to the materials used in existing house walls.’

The council contended that the extension which had been added to the rear of the terrace house was not permitted development because the materials did not have a similar appearance to those of the exterior of the existing dwellinghouse. The inspector acknowledged that the extension was rendered whereas the rear elevation was yellow brick. Indeed, she acknowledged that there was no render at the rear on any of the rest of the terrace. She pointed out, however, that the first floor of the front of the house was rendered.

The inspector reasoned that there is no mention in the GPDO of matching materials being limited to those on the elevation to which an extension is to be attached. Consequently, she found that the extension did meet the wording of condition A.3(a) when given its literal interpretation. She issued a certificate of lawfulness accordingly.

Do readers have any thoughts on this?

The following DCP section is relevant: 4.3421

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