Conversion of garages and outbuildings to ancillary residential use Q & A DCP Section 10.4

This sub-section is concerned with instances where it is proposed to convert integral garages and outbuildings at existing dwellings into ancillary living accommodation such as an extra living room or bedroom. As described below there is no material change of use involved in so doing, but as many planning permissions for housing embody a condition safeguarding against such an eventuality, there are a considerable number of applications and appeals relating. Conventional contentions relate to the loss of parking space at the dwelling concerned and possible effects on highway safety or amenity. The scenario where separate and self-contained accommodation such as granny annexes is created in residential outbuildings, including garages, has already been described at 10.2).

Q & A    10.4/10

My client wishes to convert a garage in his mews property to a habitable room. The property is at least 100 years old and therefore there is no planning condition requiring retention of the garage. On the basis that the existing and proposed uses are both residential and within the same planning unit, I assume permission is not required. Am I right?

You are quite right in your assumption as there is no material change of use involved. Furthermore any physical alterations proposed such as the replacement of garage type doors with windows will be permitted development if the property falls within the definition of a "dwellinghouse".

Is planning permission required for the change of use of a domestic garage to a bedroom involving a change in external appearance in a conservation area? DH.

The change of use would not be material, but may be controllable if a condition has been breached.  Any elevational changes are likely to be permitted development. This topic is the subject of section 10.4 in Development Control Practice. GH

In a couple of instances occupation conditions relating to granny annexes appear to have been breached. In one the annexe has all the facilities for independent occupation. A second access has been constructed so the drive is no longer shared and the main house occupiers’ son lives in the annexe as a separate dwelling. Would the council be justified in enforcing against the second access? In the second case the annexe is attached to the main house. The property is being occupied by two couples each with a child. The original owners have moved into the annexe, the new couple occupying the main house. Both couples own the property severally and as tenants in common. The two parts are being used independently. Has a breach of control occurred and would enforcement be justified? AG.

Normally with an annexe one would expect a dependency relationship between the annexe and the main house, i.e. the annexe being occupied by an elderly or disabled person or an employee. In both cases the ancillary occupancy conditions have been breached, so enforcement would presumably be justified. In the first case, enforcement would only be justified against the second access if there were road safety or other issues and provided the access was not permitted development under class B of part 2 of schedule 2 of the General Permitted Development Order 1995. JH.

A fully self-contained house is proposed within the garden of another but is described as an annex on the application forms. The remainder of the garden is shared between the two houses. Should it be treated as a householder extension or a new dwelling? If it is to be an annexe should it not share other facilities with the main house as well as the garden? PI.

I presume what is proposed is a "granny annexe", a dwelling which would be occupied by a dependent or employee of the occupiers of the main house. The case of Uttlesford District Council v Secretary of State for the Environment 1991 has determined that a dwelling can be ancillary to another. There is no requirement for the occupiers of such an annexe to share part of the main house. If your council would be happy with an annexe here, but not a separate dwelling, it would be prudent to impose a condition or require a planning obligation to ensure the dwelling remains ancillary to the main house. JH.

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