Class P access and curtilage

A council in Devon has had costs awarded against it after mistakenly refusing prior approval for the conversion of a Class B8 storage building to a dwelling (DCS Number 400-014-711).  

The council had refused permission on the basis that the vehicular access to the building and land proposed for conversion was not included within the application site, the inspector noted. In the council’s view, had the access been included within the application site, the residential curtilage proposed would exceed the footprint of the building, in conflict with Schedule 2, Part 3, paragraph P.3(b) of the GPDO.

The inspector explained that ‘curtilage’ and ‘access’ are separate and distinct terms as referred to within the GPDO (at Schedule 2, Part 3, paragraph P.3 and at Schedule 2, Part 2, Class B thereof respectively). He also explained that the definition of curtilage within Class P, essentially land ‘immediately beside or adjacent’ would not logically apply to many vehicular accesses to storage or distribution facilities. Furthermore, he found no explicit requirement within the GPDO for access to be included within curtilage proposed for the purposes of Class P.

The inspector therefore found that unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary or wasted expense had been demonstrated, and that a full award of costs was justified in line with the Planning Practice Guidance.

The following DCP section is relevant: 4.3423

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