Marvellous minibeasts

All sorts of fun facts can be derived from planning appeals, and it was the behaviour of parasites that resulted in a successful appeal against the refusal of prior approval for a barn conversion in Devon.

In this case (DCS Number 400-019-582) the council contended that, irrespective of whether the agricultural use was an agricultural business on the relevant date (20th March 2013), there had been an intervening change of use which disqualified the building from conversion under Part 3, Class Q of the GPDO. The council’s concern related to horses which were observed by the case officer in the barn, the inspector noted. The appellant explained that these animals were retired and spent much of their time outside. Information was provided to show that grazing sheep and horses alongside one another within an organic farming system can assist in grassland management and reduce sheep fatalities due to parasites.

The inspector saw nothing to suggest that the horses were being kept for recreational purposes. They were unshod and there were no signs of equestrian paraphernalia or feed. He was thus satisfied that the horses were serving an agricultural purpose, and their housing within the building whilst not grazing did not trigger a material change of use to equestrian or a mixed use. He concluded that the building qualified for change of use to a dwelling under Class Q.

Section 4.3423 of DCP Online concerns change of use under Part 3 of the GPDO.