Break the habit

When dealing with planning applications in the green belt our habit of thinking in terms of appropriateness and openness is generally a good one. When dealing with applications for prior approval in the green belt, on the other hand, it’s a habit that needs to be broken. A recent appeal decision relating to the refusal of prior approval for an additional storey on a dwelling in Dorset illustrates the point (DCS Number 400-031-584).

The inspector recorded that under Schedule 2, Part 1, Class AA of the GPDO planning permission is granted for the enlargement of a dwellinghouse consisting of the construction of one additional storey, where the existing dwellinghouse consists of one storey, immediately above the topmost storey of the dwellinghouse, together with any engineering operations reasonably necessary for the purpose of that construction, subject to conditions, restrictions and limitations. 

The council had refused prior approval on the basis that the development would be inappropriate in the green belt, and that the resulting harm would not be clearly outweighed by other considerations so as to amount to the very special circumstances necessary to justify it. The inspector pointed out, however, that the matters set out within Paragraph AA.2(3)(a) of Class AA do not include the effect of the development on a green belt. He explained that this reflects the fact that permitted development rights are not withdrawn by the GPDO either in total or in part within green belts. That being so, he declared that the council’s sole reason for refusal of prior approval was invalid. Accordingly, he allowed the appeal. 

The permitted development classes are set out at section 4.342 of DCP Online.