DC Casebook: Housing: New build - Owner fends off abandonment objection

The replacement of a dilapidated former dwelling in Shropshire has been allowed after an inspector decided that it would not be tantamount to a new house in the countryside.

The building had not been occupied since the mid 1970s and the council argued that this period of disuse suggested that residential use had been abandoned. The inspector referred to the tests for abandonment arising from Castell-y-Mynach Estate v Secretary of State for Wales [1985] - the physical condition of the building, the period of disuse, the intervention of any other use and evidence on the owner's intentions.

The appellant stated that he had no intention to abandon the residential use when he purchased the building in 1977. He applied for planning permission for a replacement dwelling in that year and in the early years of his ownership contacted the council on a number of occasions to discuss reuse or restoration. The building was mothballed when he moved away from the area but when he retired and moved back he set about applying for permission to restore or replace it.

On this evidence, the inspector considered that there had been no intention to abandon the use. Neither was he persuaded that the dwelling use had been abandoned by virtue of its physical condition or length of disuse. Furthermore, he noted that there was no intervening use which might have thrown doubt on the owner's intentions.

DCS Number 100-068-738

Inspector Nigel Harrison; Hearing.

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