Nature abhors a vacuum

We have referred previously to the absence of a definition of ‘isolated’ in the NPPF – ‘Isolation’ – Now we’re getting somewhere – and the efforts of inspectors to fill the void. Here is a bit more from an inspector dealing with an appeal against the refusal of outline planning permission for two dwellings in rural Suffolk (DCS Number 400-017-227).

“The Council states that the development fails to accord with Paragraph 55 of the Framework insofar as it would represent an isolated new home in the countryside where new housing should be avoided unless special circumstances dictate otherwise. However, given that the Framework and National Planning Practice Guidance provide no definition of what constitutes an isolated dwelling, I have formed the view that this would depend upon a number of different factors, such as (but not exclusively); (a) its physical proximity to other dwellings and whether it fell within an otherwise built-up cluster or frontage; (b) its proximity to the built-up areas of nearby settlements; (c) its ‘sense’ of remoteness; and (d) its proximity to shops, services and public transport and whether sustainable modes of transport (walking and cycling) could be used to access them.”

More on housing in the open countryside can be found in DCP Online section 9.23

3 Responses to “Nature abhors a vacuum”

    • Tankertop

      The above High Court ruling is, by far, the most significant and useful clarification on the definition of isolation, a vital matter that the NPPF completely failed to address. The ruling confirms that the vast majority of LPAs – and planning inspectors – effectively have been interpreting Paragraph 55 wholly incorrectly since the arrival of the NPPF. It is likely that applications for thousands of rural dwellings which can, and should have been granted permission, have been refused as a result. That is a national planning scandal though I daresay that our LPAs and the Inspectorate will actively seek to deflect attention from their manifest incompetence as the implications are finally understood.

      Reply
  1. RichardW

    I would not personally say that a single judgement in the lowest court should be taken as evidence of ‘a scandal’. Indeed, none of us even know at this point whether this decision is subject to appeal.

    Reply

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