In See you in court we reported East Hertfordshire council’s intention to challenge an inspector’s decision to overturn its refusal of prior approval for a residential barn conversion under Class Q of the GPDO. They did, they lost.
The council was concerned that the conversion would result in a dwelling in an isolated location, pointing to paragraph W(10) of Part 3 of the GPDO, which required it to have regard to the National Planning Policy Framework as if the application were a planning application; and Paragraph 55 of the NPPF states that local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside. The High Court judge decided, however, that to apply the NPPF’s policies with the same rigour in respect of accessibility of residential development to the Class Q prior approval process as would be applied to an application for planning permission for residential use would potentially frustrate the purpose of the introduction of Class Q, namely to increase the supply of housing through the conversion of agricultural buildings which by definition would very frequently be in the open countryside. The fact that an agricultural building was in a location where planning permission would not normally be granted for accessibility reasons would not amount to a sufficient reason for refusing prior approval. [East Hertfordshire DC v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 9/3/17].
The following DCP section is relevant: 4.3423