Updated 11 May 2007, this page includes various recent
decisions on appeals against refusal of planning consent. Summarises
of appeal decisions arising from refusal of planning consent are available at www.Planning Reource.co,uk/dcs,
with a copy of the decision
letter also available for a fee.
Housing appeals have been split into four categories, namely:
New (green field) including re-use of
New (brown field) being the redevelopment of
other categories of land
Conversions, being the conversion of an existing
building, with perhaps an extension.
‘Other’ is a miscellany such as
extensions, outbuildings, walls, access and other items not covered by the
three main categories.
The category decision is ours, and you may disagree! Some cases are hard to
categorise, so it may be worth checking out the others.
'SoS' = Secretary of State. 'DETR' is now ‘DCLG’ = Dept for
Communities and Local Government.
Barn changes not necessary in Northumberland GB. Permission had been
given to convert former agricultural buildings into 5 homes and a farmhouse
annexe, with demolition of the appeal building and two others. Instead an additional floor had been inserted
and new window and door openings plus wood cladding on what had been three open
sides. The appellant argued this made
the building more attractive to tenant farmers allowing greater flexibility,
but the Inspector disagreed. No
agricultural appraisal had been made to prove the case. DCS100042692. 7.7.06
Barn conversion allowed in Lancs GB. Major or complete
reconstruction was not necessary to convert the barn to residential use. The former farm had permission for housing
through conversion, change of use, alteration, extension and demolition of various
parts of other buildings. The only dispute was whether the barn was of
permanent and substantial construction and convertible without major
reconstruction. The appellant thought
about 25% of the external walls would need reconstruction, well within the
accepted 33% guide figure for barn conversions.
The council thought the figure would be significantly more.but the
inspector thought it would be no more than 30%.
DCS 100038580. 30.9.05
Gatehouse conversion refused in S Yorks GB. The proposal was to
convert a Grade 2 listed gatehouse into a dwelling. The Inspector dismissed an appeal because the
proposed link between the two gatehouses would underline their historical and
architectural importance. The High Court
agreed with the Inspector, concluding the Inspector had assessed the available
information and concluded that the link would destroy the individuality of both
buildings. Thompson v 1stSos 27 April 2005. Ref CO/12/2005.
Barn rebuild refused in Worcs GB. IF approved a gymnasium
with bathroom would occupy the exact footprint of a collapsed barn. Building work had started. The Inspector ruled that the original barn
was structurally unsound and incapable of conversion. The new building would harm the openness of
the countryside. DCS 36022260. Nov 2004.
Water tower conversion refused in Berks GB. One appeal related to conversion of a
single-storey agricultural building to two dwellings and a bullpen to another
dwelling. The degree of reconstruction
made it inappropriate and the extent of domestic encroachment into the
countryside undermined the openness. .A
second appeal related to conversion of a three-storey water tower into a
dwelling using only the ground floor plus a new-build extension creating 83% of
the floor space. The tower was a notable
but unlisted landmark in a conservation area.
The extension was a material increase contravening the local planning
policy. Overall both produced a
marginally smaller volume but this was not sufficiently very special to outweigh
the inappropriateness and encroachment into the GB. DCS 32071170. Oct 2004.
8 large homes refused at Cheshire GB farm. All but one farm
building would be demolished and the remaining one converted into a dwelling,
plus 7 new ones. The money raised would
be used on a Grade 1
listed building which would then be used for social functions, giving local
employment and funds to maintain the estate.
The DPM ruled that it did not comply with the sequential approach to new
housing, residents would be car-reliant, and even a higher density of housing
would not reconcile with the GB location.
The Inspector had suggested a reduced number of houses to lessen the
impact on the openness of the GB. The
DPM said there was an oversupply of housing in the area already., and the
proposed large houses were an inefficient land use. DCS 52958007. Sept 2004.
Kent GB manor house conversion approved. The DPM approved
conversion of a listed manor into 20 apartments and a single dwelling. The poor accessibility was poutweighed by the
need to preserve the buildings. DCS 488715697. Sept 2004.
Derbyshire GB mill conversion refused. Permission had
previously been given to convert the mill and some new build, but the appeal
proposal was a more radical and contemporary design, which the Inspector
accepted. However it would extend beyond
the boundaries of the ‘major developed area’ shown in the local
plan. There were no very special
circumstances to justify this encroachment into the GB. DCS 3850781. July 2004.
Cheshire GB barn conversion approved.
Approval was given despite the major reconstruction
work required. Permission was granted
in 1997 and work started in 2002. The
Council stopped the work after the extent of the work became apparent. A new application was made for a modest 3-bed
cottage similar to that approved. The
Council argued that it had become a new building rather than a conversion. The Inspector noted the barn did not have a
roof or rear wall so it was not a ‘permanent and substantial
construction’ so it failed the test for reuse and conversion in the GB.,
making it inappropriate. The required
reconstruction work was less than originally envisaged but the outcome was similar
and the scheme appeared to sanction a significant amount of rebuilding,
amounting to very special circumstances.
DCS 41641669. August 2004.
Kent GB listed building conversion refused. Planning permission
was granted in 1990 to convert the building into a hotel, golf course and
leisure club. The latter had been
implemented. A new application to
convert the building into four apartments was refused. The appellant argued that the fact that it
could be used as a hotel was a very special circumstance, and hotel use would
nave a greater impact on the openness, and more damaging to the historic and
architectural importance. The Inspector
and DPM disagreed, saying the site was not sustainable for housing. DCS 36580241. June 2004.
N Staffs GB derelict pub cannot become housing
– The 0.5ha site contained various buildings including
an 18th C pub. The Deputy
Prime Minister agreed with his Inspector that conversion into 3 dwellings would
encroach into the countryside. This
rural brown field site was not suitable for housing. DCS 54254379 Jan 2004
Surrey GB barn replacement refused – The barn was built in
the 1960s under permitted dev. Rights and later became a residential use
associated with the main building. The
appellant claimed that it was now immune from enforcement action, and enhanced
the GB and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and he would replace a
utilitarian building with one of traditional and attractive design. The Inspector noted the considerable
reduction in footprint and a lesser reduction on volume, and the building would
be an acceptable element of the landscape but not an enhancement. The benefits were material but insufficient
to outweigh the harm caused by the inappropriate nature of the development, and
were not a very special circumstance.
Not part of the stated report, but it would appear that the Inspecto9r
decided the appellant should not benefit from a breach of planning control. DCS 4039825 Nov 2003.
Former chapel OK for housing in Warwicks GB – The ground floor area was only 40
sqm and had been permitted for use as a builder’s store. As a house it
would be small but sufficient, and it was better than a vacant building. The modest external alterations would not
harm the character of the area. DCS 52821213. Nov 2003.
Sheffield GB pigsty rebuild for housing allowed – Planning permission
had been given to change the use of farm buildings to form 4 dwellings. However the sty was demolished and a similar
sized building erected. Enforcement action
was taken but the appellants argued they had a legitimate expectation of this
falling within the terms of the permission.
Notification of the start of work was not submitted until after the sty
was demolished. The Inspector ruled that
the ‘demolish and rebuild’ decision by the developer did not fetter
the council’s ability to take enforcement action, but he granted
permission since the council had authorised conversion of the pigsty of similar
dimensions. DCS 3290790 July 2003.
Cheshire GB farm building conversion to housing refused – The
conversion included the rebuilding of a timber lean-to, plus other
extensions. The Inspector noted that the
lean-to was not substantial and could not have a long-term life. The extent of rebuilding and extensions was
inappropriate in the GB. Also light from
the houses would spill onto adjacent fields harming the appearance and
character of the rural area. DCS 55262392. July 2003.
Herts GB clinic approved for housing – 14 flats would be
created after conversion and extension of the building. The extensions would not be excessive and be
in keeping. It would not have an adverse
effect on the openness of the countryside.
DCS 55091236. May 2003
Kent GB farm building cannot be converted to housing – A livestock building
was converted to a house by installing a living room, bedroom, bathroom and
kitchen without altering the build form.
The appellant argued that reuse for agricultural purposes would have a
similar impact on the openness of the GB, but the Inspector disagreed saying it
would lead to an increase in traffic and demestic paraphernalia in the
garden. DCS 33623521. June 2003.
Unnecessary limitation on occupancy - A barn conversion approval limited
occupancy to the appellant's family or workers at the farm. The Inspector ruled
that this served no useful planning purpose and removal would not harm the GB.
Three Rivers DC 21 Oct 2002. DCS 49422680
West Midlands GB farm conversion refused - situated between Birmingham and Coverntry, a farm had been intensely
developed over several years. It was about 1.5km from any settlement along
narrow rural roads, with no bus service. An application was made to remove the
modern buildings and convert the traditional ones to residential plus some new
buildings. The DPM over-ruled his Inspector and dismissed the application as
unsustainable. He was concerned about conflict with GB policies, transport (PPG13-transport), and the new-build element,
though accepting the conversion was appropriate, he also thought the visual
improvments and contributions to openness were overstated and were not a very
special circumstance. There was a continuing need for commercial premises in
the area so the application conflicted with PPG7. There was no convincing evidence of an
urgent need for housing in the area. Solihull MBC 5 August 2002. DCS 36049436.
Cheshire barn conversion can be called in - The Council approved the conversion but
the SoSETR called in the application to convert a barn into a dwelling in the Cheshire green belt. The owner claimed it was
unfair because she could not afford to be properly represented. The High Court
ruled that it was fair because a public enquiry by an independent inspector
should be perfectly balanced and fair, notwithstanding the owner's lack of
financial means. Hadfield v SoSETR 12 June 2002. Ref CO/3295/2001
Herts barn conversion to B+B allowed - A Herts farmer wished to convert an
under-used barn to bed & breakfast accommodation. The Council alleged it
did not involve farm diversification but was focused on supporting an already
successful farm. The Inspector ruled that the conversion did not require major
work so it was an appropriate development in the green belt. He said government
policy did not limit agricultural diversification to support of a declining
enterprise. He allowed the appeal which would not harm the openness of the
Chilterns area of outstanding natural beauty. Three Rivers DC 30 May 2002. DCS 38198815
Chapel conversion became completely new
building- disallowed - Permission was granted in 1988 allowed a change of use,
significant building alterations & partial demolition of a disused chapel
in green belt near St
the building now occupying the site was ofd blockwork cavity wall construction
on a high brick plinth and a roof of timber trusses. The Inspector said the
removal of the timber frame, for health & safety reasons due to asbestos,
was not a variation of the permission,. neither wa sbuilding regs approval of
the foundations, plinth and walls. However almost nothing remained of the
original building so its identity had been lost. The completely new building
was outside the permission. It was inappropriate in the green belt, harmed the
openness and had no very special circumstances to justify it. St Albans DC 21 May 2002 DCS 34001296.
farm building conversion refused - Conversion
of traditional farm buildings into 4 dwellings in Rotherham green belt entailed many new openings in the buildings, destroying
their simple rustic character. Although conversion was OK in principle it did
not respect their design and extensions would have to be strictly controlled.
There was no justification for 4 new double garages because the substantial
nature of the buildings allowed integral garages. The new garages would
conflict with the openness of the countryside, extending the compact nature of
retained buildings. The . Arguments that the cessation of farming had little
weight and were not very special circumstances. Rotherham MBC 14 March 2002 DCS 48064731.
'Ancillary' residence allowed - The Inspector upheld an enforcement
order to stop a former apple store being used as a self-contained dwelling, but
permitted an ancillary residential use. the 1998 approval of a replacement
dwelling had a condition that the apple store should only be used for purposes
incidental to the enjoyment of the premises. It was proposed to use it for a
garage and store, but was fitted out as a self-contained dwelling. It was not
currently occupied but had been occupied by a security manm breaching planning
control. The Inspector decided 'incidental' meant subordinate to the main
dwelling and approved use conditional upon it being ancillary living
accommodation. The property was in the Surrey Green Belt. Waverley BC 26 March
2002. DCS 32287383.
Ha-ha OK in green belt - Existing parkland buildings in Surrey
were being converted to residential use. The Inspector ruled that a ha-ha would
not affect the openness of the area but would provided a physical demarcation
to the site. The local authority claimed it would have a strong physical
presence due to its construction and lack of association with existing boundary
or topographical features. The ha-ha would be a flat-bottomed ditch 1.2m deep
with a steep inner face supported by cellular blockwork and a graded outer
face. Reigate & Banstead BC 26 July 2001. DCS No. 39373602
Barn conversion refused - The Inspector dismissed an appeal to convert an 18th
century barn into a dwelling, because its retention and protection did not
depend upon the conversion. Although not listed it had a local importance, and
had a simple agricultural character. Conversion would give it a residential
character and a more prominent feature in the countryside. This, plus the
substantial curtilage and hardstanding would reduce the openness of the
countryside in the Hertfordshire Green Belt. Three Rivers DC 2 May 2001 . DCS No. 32305421
Refurbishment costs of old mill favoured residential, not
employment use - The cost of
refurbishing a 4-storey 19th century mill, in the green belt, would be too high
to provide economical rents for employment purposes. The Inspector gave
permission for a 38 apartment development instead. Tameside MBC 19 March 2001. DCS No. 32667019
Agricultural buildings cannot be converted into bungalow - The Inspector dismissed an appeal to convert a group
of disused agricultural buildings to form a bungalow and garage. He ruled that
it was not within the definition of previously developed land. PPG3 specifically excludes agricultural buildings from this definition.
The removal of dereliction was not a very special circumstance justifying development
in the Green Belt. This argument could lead to buildings being deliberately
neglected to the detriment of the character and appearance of the countryside.
North Somerset Council. 24 April 2001. DCS No. 37310708
Conversion of a house to a residential home approved - Tandridge Council, Surrey
refused permission for a residential home for 7 people with learning
difficulties because of the increased activity would harm the rural nature of
the green belt and the access would be dangerous for road users. The inspector
found that the current house was unsuitable for a single family due to its
size, internal arrangements, and lack of interest from prospective purchasers.
He decided that the new use would be hardly different from that of a large
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