If you are looking for a way to maximize householder permitted development rights a recent appeal case in Kent (DCS Number 400-018-680) might be of interest. In this case an inspector granted a lawful development certificate for an underground games room and swimming pool, deciding that the works comprised permitted development.
Posts Categorized: Beat the system
Class Q of the GPDO allows for the change of use of an agricultural building to a dwelling, along with the building operations reasonably necessary to convert the building. In a number of cases concerning rudimentary or dilapidated barns the proposed works have been deemed to go beyond what could reasonably be described as conversion such that they would be so extensive as to comprise rebuilding, thereby falling outside the limits of permitted development. If this has happened to you we have a cunning plan. Here it is:
The conversion of a maisonette in north London to two flats was allowed at appeal, despite council concern about the loss of family housing, for the unusual reason that the location was unsuitable for raising a family (DCS Number 400-018-332).
Regular readers will be aware that in a couple of posts we have drawn attention to the lack of a definition for ‘isolated’ in the NPPF; Nature abhors a vacuum and ‘Isolation’ – Now we’re getting somewhere. Readers might also be aware that the matter has been addressed recently in the High Court – Braintree District Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government . Here on the Blog we have been keeping watch for an appeal case which refers to this court ruling in order to understand its impact in practice, and a useful example has come up in Worcestershire (DCS Number 400-017-452). This case involves the conversion of storage buildings adjacent to a village settlement boundary to three dwellings. Despite being identified as being within open countryside, the site was not isolated, the inspector concluded:
An inspector dealing with an appeal against a Dorset council’s refusal to remove an agricultural occupancy condition from a six bedroom house with a tennis court, swimming pool and extensive grounds (DCS Number 200-007-059) reminds us that planning really ought to involve some degree of looking ahead.
How do you tell the difference between a development scheme which has been artificially divided in order to avoid a requirement for affordable housing provision and one which hasn’t? You apply the tripartite test, that’s how.
Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework states that local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside unless there are special circumstances. These circumstances include the exceptional quality or innovative nature of the design of the dwelling. This is national policy; it’s in the name.
Subterranean houses in the rural area are proposed not infrequently, their below ground design being a response to concern about their impact on the landscape. Whilst they can achieve a measure of success, their potential to increase car travel will often count against them. In a more unusual case in east London an appellant has gained planning permission, having applied the same design principle to concern about the character and appearance of the suburban area (DCS Number 400-016-586). In these circumstances, of course, there is no issue in relation to the sustainability credentials of the location.
We were surprised, and a little alarmed, to find the following information in an appeal against a tree replacement notice relating to trees felled in southwest Scotland (DCS Number 400-015-800):
“The English publication “Tree Preservation Orders : A Guide to the Law and Good Practice” (2005) indicates that a provision in a tree preservation order prohibiting cutting down or removal of independent trees or groups of trees only applies to trees in existence at the time the order was made.”
Paragraph 112 of the NPPF states:
“Local planning authorities should take into account the economic and other benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land. Where significant development of agricultural land is demonstrated to be necessary, local planning authorities should seek to use areas of poorer quality land in preference to that of a higher quality.”