Further confirmation that ‘isolated’ in Paragraph 55 of the NPPF means physically isolated comes in the shape of a recent appeal relating to the refusal of outline permission for redevelopment of commercial buildings and a bungalow in the Worcestershire countryside with five dwellings (DCS Number 400-017-468). In this case the inspector usefully quotes the words of the judge in Braintree District Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greyread Limited & Granville Developments Limited :
The judge in the recent judgement has stated that paragraph 55 of the Framework ‘cannot be read as a policy against development in settlements without facilities and services since it expressly recognises that development in a small village may enhance and maintain services in a neighbouring village, as people travel to use them’. She also states that the immediate context is the distinction in paragraph 55 ‘between “rural communities”, “settlements” and “villages” on the one hand, and “the countryside” on the other. This suggests that “isolated homes in the countryside” are not in communities and settlements and so the distinction between the two is primarily spatial/physical’.
In this light the inspector reasoned that as the appeal site was adjacent to existing dwellings and a large employment site it was not in an isolated location. The inspector also reasoned that future occupiers of the dwellings would utilise and help to maintain the vitality of the services in the adjacent villages. Accordingly, the appeal was allowed.
National guidance on isolated homes in the countryside is set out in DCP Online section 9.231.