Posts By: dcplatest

Here is a case which raises a novel development management practice point






The owner of a semi-detached locally listed cottage in east London who built a three-storey rear extension in non-matching materials failed to convince an inspector that the development would comply with a condition requiring matching materials once he had cleaned up the bricks on the original house (DCS Number 400-009-655). Aside from the fact that the design of the extension did not comply with that granted planning permission, it had been constructed in new yellow stock bricks. The old bricks on the main building were yellow stock bricks but were now well weathered and significantly darker than when they were originally laid, probably well over 100 years ago. The inspector reasoned that if the appellant did manage to clean the old bricks successfully then the materials might match. However, no sample panel of cleaned bricks had been prepared and he simply did not know for sure if it would be an acceptable way forward. He could not, therefore, grant planning permission on this basis, he decided.

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Granny annexes – a matter of fact and degree?






A couple of recent appeals illustrate the difficulty faced by local planning authorities in determining whether or not residential annexes comprise ancillary accommodation.

In the first case (DCS Number 200-003-920) a granny annexe in a west Wales village was accepted as being ancillary to the main house. Here, the house and the annexe would be attached by means of a short glazed link. The council was concerned that the annexe, comprising a living room, kitchen, utility room, conservatory, bedroom with en suite facilities, and space in the roof, could be used as a separate residential unit. The inspector decided, however, that a number of factors which included the proximity of the annexe to the house, and shared garden and parking, pointed to the unit being used as ancillary accommodation. Therefore, it would not conflict with the council’s local needs policy.

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The potential of rooftop schemes for solar gain and renewable energy generation






A scheme for a solar farm on high quality agricultural land in Devon (DCS Number 200-003-894) failed the sequential test, the inspector not being satisfied that brownfield opportunities including rooftop schemes had been properly looked at. She recognised that the NPPF and PPG on solar farms did not expressly refer to the need to undertake a sequential test but reasoned that it was self-evident that in requiring an assessment as to whether land of lower quality was available a review of the quality of the land which was available needed to be undertaken. Given the ministerial statement of March 2015 which set out a need for developers to provide a compelling justification for schemes involving high quality land she decided that she had no alternative but to dismiss the appeal.

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Here’s a bit of fun






An inspector has allowed the placing of life-sized sculptures of a cow, a bull and a calf on a roundabout on the A39 (DCS Number 400-008-305). The sculptures were designed to draw attention to the land-based studies courses available at the local college but the highway authority was concerned that they would prove a distraction to motorists. The inspector decided, however, that the bovine family would not be out of context in its rural setting and would not prejudice road safety.

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Three cut-out-and-keep cases this time. Put these in a safe place – they will definitely come in useful one day.






  1.       Minor material amendments

In a mixed use development in southeast London an inspector sanctioned a raft of changes to a building which had already been constructed as minor material amendments (DCS Number 400-008-304). A number of changes to the building had been carried out during construction ostensibly due to the gradient in the road. These included the re-siting of the access, alteration of the parking layout, architectural alterations, and an increase in floorspace of 66 square metres. The inspector disagreed with the council’s claim that the cumulative effect of the changes was substantial. An interesting point to note is that the inspector compared the scale of the changes against the overall scale of the scheme, noting that the increase in floorspace would be only four per cent of the total.

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Turbine fails community engagement test






An inspector has taken a firm line and declined to determine an appeal relating to a single wind turbine in Cornwall (DCS Number: 400-008-067). The appellants claimed that they had met the requirements for pre-application consultation set out in The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015, since the turbine would be of the same height as one proposed in an earlier scheme. The inspector would have none of it, however, invalidating the appeal and ruling that fresh consultation must be carried out.

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