More often than not, inspectors will strike out conditions removing permitted development rights, since Planning Policy Guidance advises that conditions restricting the future use of permitted development rights will rarely pass the test of necessity and should only be used in exceptional circumstances. In (DCS Number 400-015-542), however, an inspector decided that protection of the green belt provided those exceptional circumstances.
Outline planning permission had been granted for eight dwellings on a site in Warwickshire occupied by a collection of single storey workshops which were in a poor state of repair. The permission was subject to a condition removing permitted development rights in respect of enlargement, improvement or other alteration, additions to the roof or other roof alterations, porches, buildings incidental to the enjoyment of a dwellinghouse and the erection, construction, maintenance, improvement or alteration of a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure.
The inspector noted that the officer’s report associated with the original planning application stated that ‘with conditions to limit the extent of the built form’ it was considered the final development was unlikely to have a greater impact on the openness of the green belt and the purpose of including land within it than the existing development. The inspector recorded that the PPG recognises that: ‘When used properly, conditions can enhance the quality of development and enable development proposals to proceed where it would otherwise have been necessary to refuse planning permission, by mitigating the adverse effects of development.’ He reasoned that if permitted development rights were exercised in the future, the individual and particularly the cumulative effect on the openness of the green belt could be significant. He considered that whilst the location of the site within the green belt might not, of itself, constitute exceptional circumstances, it was an important and relevant factor. The existing permission for eight detached dwellings on relatively generous plots provided significant potential for future extensions, additional outbuildings and other structures. The site was surrounded mainly by open fields rather than within a setting of significant existing development and it was away from the main town. Consequently, he found, the openness of the green belt could be significantly harmed by the exercise of permitted development rights.
The inspector concluded that a condition, albeit narrower than the original, that had the effect of controlling development which could be inappropriate in the green belt and detract from its openness was necessary and reasonable.