Text and context

In Oversimplification we reported an appeal case in which the inspector found that prior approval should not have been refused for a house extension on the grounds that inconsistent information regarding its maximum depth had been provided in the application: the block plan showing one measurement whereas it was stated as being another. Paragraph A.4(2)(b) of Part 1, Class A of the GPDO, he explained, does not require the plan to be drawn to any scale. The plan needed only to indicate the site and show where the proposed extension was to be located, the actual dimensions of the extension were required to be stated in writing under A.4(2)(a), which had been done.

An inspector dealing with an appeal against the refusal of prior approval for a conservatory in southeast London, on the other hand, did not accept that the written word was overriding (DCS Number 400-026-109). In this case, the appellant stated that the extension would have a depth of 4.26m but on the block plan the depth appeared to be greater than 6m. An extension of this depth would be greater than that which might be permissible under paragraph A.1(g), the inspector recorded. He considered that there was therefore a marked inconsistency between how the proposal was described on the application form and how it was shown on the block plan. In light of this inconsistency, he decided that it was not possible to conclusively state that the extension would fall within paragraph A.1(g). Noting that paragraph A.4(3) states that prior approval may be refused where insufficient information has been provided to establish whether the proposed development complies with the conditions, limitations or restrictions applicable to development permitted by Class A.1(g), he determined that he could not conclude that the extension would comply with the conditions in Article 3, Schedule 2, Part 1, Class A of the GPDO and constitute permitted development.

TBH, we’re not entirely sure where this leaves us. What if, in the second case, the block plan had shown the depth of the extension as being 5m? What would the inspector have decided then?

Commentary regarding Part 1 of the GPDO can be found at section 4.3421 of DCP Online.