In rejecting a proposal to redevelop a barn and storage sheds in a remote part of Cornwall with two dwellings an inspector dealt rapidly (in one and a bit pages, in fact) with the appellant’s argument that it would tidy up the site (DCS Number 400-030-878).
The inspector remarked, first of all, that should the council be concerned about the appearance of the site, then it had enforcement powers that could be used to address the issue. Notwithstanding that, he considered that the site and the buildings upon it did not look particularly incongruous, finding a scene that one comes across often in the countryside in Cornwall.
Crucially, the inspector reasoned that if one were to accept the ‘tidying up’ argument as justification, applied consistently, it would offer a perverse incentive to owners of rural buildings and lead to the spread of sporadic housing in rural areas. He concluded that there were no material considerations of sufficient weight to justify setting aside development plan policy which sought to protect the character and appearance of the countryside.
Further appeal cases in which this ‘tidying up’ argument has been made can be found at section 9.2331 of DCP Online.