In a decision which appears to reflect the current zeitgeist, an inspector has ruled that in making planning decisions, good neighbourliness must be assumed (DCS Number 400-028-265).
The proposal in this case sought to use part of the flat roof of a single storey rear extension at a flat in west London as a balcony enclosed by railings and as a walkway to a spiral staircase providing a means of escape and access to the rear garden.
The inspector noted that the proposed balcony was smaller than a balcony previously considered by a colleague inspector. In considering the issue of potential noise and disturbance, he recorded that the previous inspector had reasoned that ‘in itself the terrace is not a noise generating development and because its use would be ancillary to the residential use of the flat there is no reason to find that its use would be unacceptable’, going on to explain that ‘if there was a party at the appeal site then that might cause disturbance by virtue of music or conversation emanating from within, via the doors of the extension, which could happen whether the terrace was there or not’. He had concluded that the noise issue ‘therefore appears to come back to good neighbourliness rather than being an inherently inappropriate and unneighbourly form of development’.
In the more recent appeal the inspector remarked that he entirely agreed with his colleague’s position and, to his mind, planning decisions must be based on an assumption that occupiers will reside in a considerate manner. He pointed out that legislation is in place to deal with those who do not. In light of these factors, he was satisfied that the proposal would not cause unacceptable levels of noise and disturbance for nearby residents.
Section 4.137 of DCP Online covers noise generated by development.