Personal circumstances justify barn conversion in green belt

An inspector has been persuaded by an appellant that her needs and those of her partner justified being allowed to convert part of a barn to residential use, despite the council's objection on the grounds of harm to the Lancashire green belt.

The appeal site comprised a smallholding established by the appellant and her husband in 2006 and involved a mixed agricultural and equestrian use. Since establishing the enterprise which included the rehabilitation of sick horses and ponies, the appellant’s husband had suffered deteriorating health and disability which required her to become a full-time carer. In addition, she suffered from mental health problems and claimed that she needed to be on site all the time to look after the animals which included sheep and cattle.

The personal circumstances of the appellant and her husband were unusual if not extraordinary, the inspector concluded, and although the residential facilities in the barn were not ideal, they did meet their needs. Dismissing the appeal would have a substantial adverse impact on the health of both the appellant and her husband and would involve a significant interference with their home and family life. Although it would result in the creation of an isolated dwelling in the countryside the harm to the green belt would be minimal and in his opinion there was insufficient evidence to conclude that it would be an inappropriate use in a building of permanent construction. Overall, rejecting the appeal would have a disproportionate effect upon the rights of the appellant contrary to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Conditions were imposed restricting occupation to the appellant and her husband.

Inspector: Andrew Hammond; Hearing

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