DC Casebook: Householder Development - Car hobby deemed beyond incidental

An Essex accountant has lost an appeal over an enforcement notice directed against keeping of vehicles in connection with his car restoration hobby after an inspector decided that a material change of use has occurred.

There was no dispute that the accumulation of about 82 vehicles had arisen from the appellant's pursuit of his hobby rather than a commercial enterprise. He argued that the use was incidental to the use of a dwellinghouse as such. The council maintained that it went well beyond what could be regarded as incidental.

The inspector recorded that in Wallington v Secretary of State for Wales and Montgomeryshire District Council [1991], the words "as such" in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 were held to carry significance. Case law indicates that purposes associated with the enjoyment of a dwellinghouse cannot rest solely on the unrestrained whim of the occupier and the word "incidental" connotes an element of subordination in land use terms, he reasoned.

He concluded that the scale of the use was beyond what would ordinarily be contemplated as subsidiary to the use of a dwellinghouse. The fact that many cars were undisturbed for long periods was clear indication that the scale and nature of the use was not subordinate to or parasitic upon the residential use, he held.

DCS Number 100-068-754

Inspector Graham Bailey; Inquiry.

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