A bit off

The neighbours might not have thought much of this one (DCS Number 400-022-191) but it gives us an idea how far built development can vary from the approved plans before being deemed unauthorised. 

The case concerns an appeal against an enforcement notice which required the demolition of part of an extension to a house in Sussex. The council maintained that one of the approved drawings showed the extension as being 4m from the neighbouring property, which was a crucial determining factor in finding the scheme acceptable, whereas it had been built 2.8m from the property. 

After agreeing measurements on site it seemed to the inspector that the overall length of the extension was between 235 and 310mm longer than the main plans showed and this appeared to have reduced the gap to the boundary (and to the adjacent property) by a distance of between 235mm and 250mm at the front corner. The inspector reasoned that “When considering whether something has been constructed in accordance with a planning permission, the extent that the development complies with the plans submitted has to be considered as well as the extent that it does not accord with the plans.” He found that there was substantial agreement with the main plan and elevation, determining that the small error of around 250mm at the front corner was relatively small and de minimis. Taking into account errors in the site plan, and the extent the development accorded with them, he concluded that the development had been substantially built in accordance with the plans submitted. Accordingly, he quashed the notice.

Section 4.5335 of DCP Online concerns enforcement against departure from a permission or approved plans.