Suspicious minds

An inspector declined to issue a certificate of lawful development for the construction of an outbuilding in the rear garden of a house in Buckinghamshire, nonetheless finding that the council’s approach to the application was wrong (DCS Number 400-017-686).

The parties agreed that the outbuilding would fully meet size and other limitations within paragraph E.1 of Class E of the GPDO, the inspector noted. The single point of dispute was whether or not the outbuilding would be “required for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse as such”, in order to be considered permitted development. The council maintained that the scale, size and internal layout of the building could easily be adapted for independent living purposes and so it could not be considered to be incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse.

The inspector ruled that this was the wrong approach in deciding whether a building would be incidental for the purposes of Class E. He explained that the council’s fear that the building could be adapted to become an independent dwelling house was irrelevant. In the event that the outbuilding were to be used in the way the council feared, such that it would amount to a breach of planning control, the council could exercise its enforcement powers.

Nevertheless, he recorded that it was for the appellant to demonstrate that the proposed uses would remain ancillary or subordinate to the main use of the property as a dwellinghouse, and that the floor space allotted to the proposed uses were reasonably required in order to accommodate them. In this regard he found that there was very little explanatory information to demonstrate that the outbuilding would be incidental. Given the considerable size of the building and based on the minimal evidence provided, he was not persuaded that the uses could not be provided in a more modest sized building. Hence the appellant had failed to demonstrate that the outbuilding would be reasonably required for purposes incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse such that it would be permitted development within Class E of the GPDO.

Part 1 permitted development is covered at section 4.3421 of DCP Online – Development within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse.

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