Not the same

An inspector has quashed an enforcement notice requiring the demolition of an extension to a house in Surrey after deciding that it was permitted development (DCS Number 400-028-983).

The inspector recorded that Class A of Part 1, Schedule 2 of the GPDO permits the enlargement, improvement or other alteration of a dwellinghouse. Paragraph A.3 provides that development is permitted by Class A subject to conditions, of which it was argued by the council that condition (a) was in breach, in that the external materials were not of similar appearance to those used in the construction of the exterior of the existing dwellinghouse. The Order gives no further interpretation of the meaning of this condition, the inspector noted. 

The extension was wholly finished in an off-white render whereas the house was finished in a variety of materials. Nevertheless, the inspector found it clear from the words of the Order that the exterior work must be of a “similar appearance” to the existing dwelling; they do not have to match exactly. He reasoned that the extension was seen in public views from the road alongside the front elevation, and having regard to the purpose of the condition to minimise visual impact, he considered that it was against this elevation that the comparison needed to be made. 

Looking at the front elevation as a whole, the inspector found that the overall impression was of a dark-coloured finish with a subsidiary element of pale render. However, the extension was single-storey, and the predominant material on the ground floor of the original house was render, albeit that there were exposed timbers and a brick plinth. Even though the extension rose above the rendered part of the ground floor of the dwelling, he considered that it made no sense to attempt to ensure that part of it was composed of tile-hanging, which was only found on the first floor. Similarly, he considered that a rigid duplication of the whole palette of materials found on the house, to include a brick plinth and exposed timbers could give rise to ludicrous results. He concluded, therefore, that the adoption of render as the principal exterior finish on the ground floor achieved compliance with condition (a).

Information concerning Part 1 permitted development can be found at Section 4.3421 of DCP Online.