Garden leisure buildings Q & A DCP Section 12.8

This section is concerned with new build freestanding buildings or structures within the curtilage of private gardens. Such buildings are typically swimming pools, summerhouses, games rooms, tennis courts etc. Garages and hardstandings for cars will be found at (12.1) and curtilage extensions are the subject of a separate section (12.9). New freestanding residential annexes are discussed at (10.2) along with similar developments proposed to be created from existing buildings and the conversion of garages into living rooms is considered at (10.4). Uses on garden land or within existing buildings which may be claimed "ancillary" to residential use are included under the relevant topic section in this manual. Buildings to house domestic animals such as dogs and cats are considered at (23.1) although aviaries and pigeon lofts are dealt with here.

Q & A    12.8/10

I recall a court case where it was held that a recreational facility within the curtilage of a house in the green belt, such as stables, a tennis court or a swimming pool, could not benefit from PPG2 policy which makes outdoor sport proposals "appropriate" development. However, the case of Houghton v Secretary of State for the Environment & London Borough of Bromley [1995], which concerned a private tennis court, indicates that there should be no distinction between public and private facilities when interpreting the PPG2 term "outdoor sport". Can you assist in identifying the former case and resolving the apparent conflict with the latter judgment?

I think that the judgment to which you refer is ex parte Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead [2002] (Planning 17 May 2002 p16). This concerned an appeal decision, where it was concluded that floodlighting used for private recreational use within a garden was appropriate development, being quashed by consent. On remit, a second inspector confirmed that the development the subject of the appeal was residential in land-use terms and therefore inappropriate (DCS No. 30860748).

There is a fine distinction between the two cases as in Houghton the land concerned was outside the curtilage of an adjacent dwelling, although incorporation had been proposed. However, the issue actually debated in this case was whether an inspector was correct to reject the tennis court as inappropriate development because it was a private facility per se, rather than because it was a "residential" use.

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