Overly cautious

An inspector has deleted a condition withdrawing permitted development rights from a new house in the green belt in Essex, pointing out that the GPDO does not differentiate between green belt land and land elsewhere (DCS Number 400-026-655).

The disputed condition stated that notwithstanding the provisions of the GPDO, the dwelling should not be extended or enlarged in any way without the prior grant of planning permission by the local planning authority. The reason given for the condition was to prevent the creation of a dwelling of disproportionate size that would conflict with the policies of restraint in the green belt.

The inspector related that the PPG states that conditions restricting the future use of permitted development rights may not pass the tests of reasonableness and necessity, and the NPPF indicates that planning conditions should not be used to restrict national permitted development rights unless there is clear justification to do so. The council maintained that the condition was necessary to prevent the erection of disproportionate extensions to the existing dwelling, suggesting that the cumulative effect of the extensions afforded via the permitted development process could add up to approximately 80 per cent additional volume to the dwelling. The council contended that this would represent inappropriate development in the green belt and would be detrimental to its openness.

The council asserted that it was not unusual or unreasonable practice to withdraw permitted development rights on approved dwellings in the green belt, but the inspector found that, in the case before him, it would be overly cautious and restrictive. He pointed out that green belt policy does not require proposals that would be permitted development to be assessed against whether they are inappropriate or not, nor is it necessary to assess their impact on openness. Also, the GPDO does not impose any specific restrictions on land in the green belt.

The inspector saw no justification for withdrawing permitted development rights solely on the basis of the potential impact on the green belt. In addition, he reasoned that, due to the small size of the dwelling, any development that fell within permitted development tolerances would also be modest in size and any larger development that was of a scale or nature not to fall within permitted development rights would be subject to assessment under planning policy.

The inspector concluded that any impact on the green belt would not amount to sufficient justification to warrant withholding Class A permitted development rights. He found that the disputed planning condition was unnecessary and conflicted with paragraph 55 of the NPPF which seeks to ensure that planning conditions are only imposed where they are necessary and reasonable.

Section 4.4261 of DCP Online covers the curtailment of the later exercise of planning rights.