Not very unauthorised

In determining an appeal against an enforcement notice requiring the demolition of an unauthorised roof extension at a house in Hertfordshire an inspector has ruled that there is no degree of tolerance in permitted development rights (DCS Number 400-028-517).

The appellant contended that the amount of development falling outside the limitations of permitted development was so minor that the roof extension had limited impact. Also, because the vast majority of the roof extension would be within permitted development allowances, this represented a strong fallback position.

The inspector was not persuaded by these arguments. The limitations on the size of permitted development are expressed precisely in the GPDO, he recorded, ruling that there cannot be a ‘bit’ or a ‘minor’ infringement. Something is either permitted development or it is not, he held, and “an assessment of impact or harm does not come into it.” He considered, furthermore, that the existence of permitted development rights could not be used to justify a grant of permission for the roof extension as it was. He reasoned that the notice could not be varied to require the removal of the offending element so as to modify the residual roof extension in line with the parameters of permitted development, because the GPDO does not grant permission retrospectively and the breach of planning control would not be remedied. A fallback position has to be lawful, he explained.

The inspector acknowledged that, once the roof extension had been removed, the roof made good and all resulting debris removed from the land so that the enforcement notice was fully complied with, the appellant would have permitted development rights to erect another dormer or roof extension on the rear roof slope. He recognised that he had the power to grant planning permission for ‘part of the matters’ alleged and that term could be applied to a smaller roof extension. However, he found that he could not tie any permission granted for a smaller roof extension to any plans showing a smaller one to describe the works in words with sufficient precision.

The notice was upheld.

Part 1, Class B GPDO rights are set out at section 4.3421 of DCP Online.