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:
Posts Categorized: Current thinking
We have referred previously to the absence of a definition of ‘isolated’ in the NPPF – ‘Isolation’ – Now we’re getting somewhere – and the efforts of inspectors to fill the void. Here is a bit more from an inspector dealing with an appeal against the refusal of outline planning permission for two dwellings in rural Suffolk (DCS Number 400-017-227).
An inspector has upheld an enforcement notice requiring the demolition of a new building on a farm holding on green belt land in Derbyshire, after finding that it had been designed as a residential property (DCS Number 400-017-202).
….Box 5.1 of the Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment, Third Edition (GLVIA3) published by the Landscape Institute and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, to be precise. Box 5.1 sets out eight criteria against which landscape value might be assessed. These are landscape quality (condition), conservation interest, scenic quality, recreation value, rarity, perceptual aspects, representativeness and associations.
We found this from an inspector in a recent appeal decision (DCS Number 400-016-993).
“The terms ‘incidental’ and ‘ancillary’ have, in general, become interchangeable in their meaning. Both terms refer to a use or activity that would not be expected to be found as an integral part of a use.”
A recent appeal case concerning the change of use of amenity land to residential garden land at two new houses in Berkshire tells us that an inspector’s work is never done (DCS Number 200-006-882).
An appeal case relating to the refusal of outline permission for up to 80 dwellings in Hampshire (DCS Number 200-006-896) sums up current thinking about policies which place a blanket restriction on development in the open countryside.
An inspector dealing with an appeal against the refusal of outline permission for three dwellings in Surrey (DCS Number 200-006-849) has reminded us that despite there being a tendency for mud to stick, it shouldn’t.
In PPS7 Annex A – gone but not forgotten and Nearly four years on and deleted guidance is still in use we remarked on inspectors’ reluctance to let go of PPS7 guidance on new farm dwellings.
Once a settlement boundary has been defined it is easy to see it as fixed and not to be breached. However, an inspector dealing with an appeal against the refusal of outline permission for a house in the green belt in Essex took account of case law set out in Julian Wood v SoS and Gravesham Borough Council  which found that the term “village” is not necessarily the same as a settlement boundary, and that there is a need to consider the facts on the ground (DCS Number 400-016-397).