Precedent risk fear set aside for equine dwelling

Planning permission was granted for the erection of a dwelling at an equine chiropractic enterprise in the North Wessex Downs AONB in Berkshire, an inspector rejecting the council's claim that an alternative dwelling was available to meet the acknowledged functional need.

The council did not dispute the functional need for the accommodation but asserted that a range of properties were or had been available within the vicinity of the site. It referred to one dwelling immediately to the north which was being offered for sale at a cost of £500,000. In rebuttal the appellant stated this was unaffordable since the enterprise only generated a profit of between £15,000 and £25,000 per annum. The council responded asserting that land and property values should not be relevant to a planning decision since it would lead to a ‘free for all’ for new dwellings in the countryside by those who could not afford the prices.

In expressing some sympathy for the council’s concerns, the inspector was not persuaded that a ‘free for all’ would result because any dwellings in the countryside would have to be fully justified including the special circumstances referred to in paragraph 55 of the national planning policy framework. Nor was it appropriate for the council to require the appellant to seek stables linked to an existing dwelling. The business had been established for 10 years and shown in recent years to be profitable and the appeal was allowed.

Inspector: G Jones; Hearing


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