Inspectors can never know exactly what they might encounter on a site visit but the following description of development must have introduced a certain level of apprehension.
“The development proposed is new detached dwelling, detached garage with first floor accommodation and lion enclosure with fencing.”
This appeal case (DCS Number 400-016-290) relates to the refusal of planning permission for the development at a zoo in Oxfordshire. The inspector observed that the proposal would be located in open countryside some distance away from the nearest villages. The design of the dwelling would seek to mimic the appearance of an African hunting lodge.
The inspector recorded that Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework guides that new isolated homes in the countryside should be avoided unless there are special circumstances, including the essential need for a rural worker to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside.
The council accepted that there would be a need for supervision of the lion enclosure and the inspector concurred with this. He decided, however, that the proposal would give rise to a new dwelling in an open countryside location that would be some distance away from the goods and services available in the nearest centres of population and therefore would not be sustainable. In addition, the scale and design of the building would far exceed the requirements for supervision of the lion enclosure, he determined, and it would appear as a conspicuous feature in the landscape with an incongruous architectural style that would not accord with local distinctiveness considerations.
As ever, an inspector taking a pride in the job.
The following DCP section is relevant: 9.83