Porch-like qualities

Have you ever wondered, in your quieter moments, about the defining characteristics of a porch? What is the critical difference between a porch and an extension? A recent appeal decision (DCS Number 400-033-310) clears this one up.

This decision followed an appeal against the refusal of a certificate of lawfulness for a porch on a semi-detached house in north London. The appellant’s case, the inspector related, was that since what was proposed was a porch, it fell to be considered under the terms of Class D of the GPDO, ‘Porches’. For its part, the council contended that it was an extension to the property that should rightly be considered in the light of Class A, ‘Enlargement, improvement or other alteration of a dwellinghouse’. The council’s reason for refusing to issue a certificate was that the proposed porch would link into an existing single-storey front and side extension, and would extend beyond a wall which fronted a highway and formed the principal elevation of the original dwellinghouse. 

The inspector pointed out, however, that the permitted development right under Class D reads ‘The erection or construction of a porch outside any external door of a dwellinghouse’. The key words from this class, he reasoned, are that the permitted right relates to “any external door”. So, whilst being attached to an earlier extension, the construction of the porch would be a distinct and separate operation from it. He found that what was proposed was clearly a porch that would serve an external door. Accordingly, it fell to be assessed against the permitted development right conferred by Class D. Given that the porch would accord with the size and siting limitations in Class D it would be permitted development, he determined.

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