An axed annexe

An inspector has granted permission for independent use of a granny annexe in the Devon countryside in line with a revision to the NPPF (DCS Number 400-019-912).

Planning permission had been granted in 2003 for the reconstruction of a dwelling with granny annexe. The permission was subject to a condition that the annexe should not be used as an independent unit of residential accommodation separate from the house, in accordance with the development plan which sought to protect the countryside.

The inspector considered that the site was physically disconnected from any community facilities. She noted, however, that applications for proposed development should be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise, and one such consideration, she held, is the expression of Government policy. She recorded that Paragraph 79 of the updated Framework states that isolated homes in the countryside should be avoided unless, amongst other things, the development would involve the subdivision of an existing residential dwelling. She explained that this exception is a recent addition to the Framework following its revision in July.

The inspector found that the proposal would constitute the development of an isolated home in the countryside for the purposes of Paragraph 79. However, the proposal would divide the existing residential unit into two houses. She determined that there was, therefore, no doubt that it would involve the subdivision of an existing dwelling. Consequently, it was her view that the exception contained in paragraph 79(d) of the Framework, namely that the subdivision of an existing dwelling is acceptable in isolated locations, applied.

The inspector remarked that the Framework sets out a clear and recent statement of the Government’s policy in respect of the acceptability of residential subdivisions in isolated rural locations. As such, she held that it was a material consideration that carried substantial weight in her decision and, in the particular circumstances of the case, outweighed the conflict with the development plan. She deleted the condition.

Further information on granny annexes can be found at section 10.2 of DCP Online.