Posts By: dcplatest

Cut to pieces

There is always talk about how roads and traffic cut the heart out of our towns and villages. Perhaps that’s why an inspector with a sharp tongue made this incisive observation when putting a proposal for eight dwellings in Nottinghamshire under the microscope: “The proposed site access would be taken directly from Mansfield Road (A60) which dissects the settlement.” (DCS Number 400-019-373).

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Full circle

We appear to have come full circle with regard to the definition of an isolated dwelling. Readers will recall that in Braintree District Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & Others [2017] the High Court judge found that “isolated” should be given its ordinary objective meaning of, “far away from other places, buildings or people, remote”. Also, that it was subsequently held in the Court of Appeal, in Braintree DC v SSCLG, Greyread Ltd & Granville Developments Ltd [2018] that, “…in its particular context in paragraph 55 of the NPPF, the word ‘isolated’ in the phrase ‘isolated homes in the countryside’ simply connotes a dwelling that is physically separate or remote from a settlement…”

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Getaway cars

Airport parking at six former agricultural buildings near Gatwick has been denied a lawful development certificate notwithstanding the appellant’s claim that the use was in line with the authorised storage use of the buildings (DCS Number 200-007-675). The go-to court case in these circumstances is Hickmet, referred to by the appeal inspector.

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Never mind the quality

An inspector has ruled that a Surrey council’s blanket ban on extensions to houses on a recent development in the green belt is “plainly wrong” (DCS Number 400-019-143).

In the case before him the inspector considered that the proposed extensions would be innocuous and inconsequential. Accordingly, he concluded that the scheme would not be inappropriate development in the green belt and would not harm either the appearance and character of the existing building or the rural character of the estate and its setting in the open countryside. There would therefore be no conflict with government policy in the Framework or with the relevant local plan policy.

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A nut case

Paragraph 55 of the NPPF states that “Local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside unless there are special circumstances such as:” …. (bullet point four)….”the exceptional quality or innovative nature of the design of the dwelling.” A recent appeal case concerning the retention of a beech wood hut at a house in Buckinghamshire (DCS Number 400-019-142) indicates that an exception to green belt policy on curtilage buildings might also be made for exceptional design.

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What’s in a name?

Readers might be aware that Ed Sheeran’s plans to build a private chapel on his Suffolk estate were set back due to the possibility of there being great crested newts on the site. He’s not on his own – a proposal for an otherwise satisfactory family dwelling in Cheshire was turned down at appeal because it would result in the loss of GCN terrestrial habitat (DCS Number 400-019-111).

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All washed up

Now that laundrettes are an endangered species it seems a shame that planning legislation does little to protect the small number remaining.

A recent appeal case (DCS Number 400-018-997) shows just how easy it is to gain consent for residential conversion. This case concerns a prior approval application under Schedule 2, Part 3, Class M of the GPDO for conversion of a former laundrette in east Sussex to a flat. The inspector acknowledged that there was common thought amongst local residents that the laundrette had been a valued service, popular with young and old alike. The appellant explained, however, that it had closed in October 2017, and maintained that the costs of equipment modification and refurbishment works to the premises brought into doubt whether it would re-open. The inspector considered that this position had a significant bearing on the case as, should the impact of the change of use on the local laundrette service be seen as particularly undesirable, the GPDO stipulates that this is only a consideration where there is a reasonable prospect of the service being provided. In addition, whilst he had found that the loss of the laundrette would be felt locally, he also accepted that customers would be able to reach an alternative facility by bus. He concluded that the appeal should be allowed.

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