After a few quiet weeks the Planning Inspectorate appears to be getting back into its stride following the publication of the revised NPPF. So, dear readers, here on the DCP Blog we are keeping a watchful eye for appeal cases where new policy has had an impact.
Posts Categorized: Current thinking
Regular readers might have noticed that the DCP Blog has been running a bit of a thread on the essential need test for farm dwellings (see Plus ça change….). An inspector who sanctioned the retention of a log cabin at a Wiltshire equestrian enterprise has provided further guidance on the extent to which financial viability must be proven (DCS Number 400-019-439).
A useful ruling on the meaning of ‘limited infilling’ can be found in the decision relating to an appeal against the refusal of planning permission for a single dwelling in the Greater Manchester green belt (DCS Number 400-019-367).
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  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  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…”
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.
An interesting ruling on the intention of Class O of the GPDO with regard to noise impacts has come up in a recent appeal decision (DCS Number 400-018-679).
This case involved a prior approval application for the change of use of the upper floors of a building in west London from office use to 30 flats under Schedule 2, Part 3, Class O of the GPDO. The inspector identified the main issue as being whether the proposal would provide adequate living conditions for its intended occupiers by way of the impacts of noise from commercial premises.
In dealing with an enforcement appeal concerning the use of land in Hertfordshire as a wedding venue (DCS Number 200-007-514) an inspector has pointed out the potentially significant implications for green belt policy arising from draft changes to the NPPF.
A replacement dwelling in the green belt in Hertfordshire has been rejected at appeal, an inspector declining to take unexpended permitted development rights into account to justify a larger dwelling (DCS Number 400-018-395).
A recent appeal case in north Wales addresses an interesting point about the validation of planning applications (DCS Number 400-018-465).
The appellants in this case had made a householder application for ‘alterations and extension to domestic garage to form annexe accommodation’ and they had paid the relevant fee. The planning authority, however, issued a notice of invalidity, with the requirement ‘Please complete and return an application form for planning permission, this type of proposal is not household but the creation of a dwelling, and please note the correct fee is £380.00’.
Q How much harm is less than substantial harm, exactly?
A More than 5.25 per cent.
Paragraph 134 of the Framework states that ‘Where a development proposal will lead to less than substantial harm to the significance of a designated heritage asset, this harm should be weighed against the public benefits of the proposal…’. The question this raises, of course, is how much harm is less than substantial harm? An inspector dealing with an appeal against the refusal of planning permission for 290 dwellings on ridge and furrow earthworks in Leicestershire decided, in the case before him, that it was more than 5.25 per cent of the earthworks (DCS Number 200-007-416).