The appeal related to a two storey brick building within an agricultural field, outside of a settlement in the open countryside. Prior approval was required in relation to whether the location or siting of the building made it otherwise impractical or undesirable for the proposed change of use. An inspector found that paragraph 55 of the NPPF identified that one of the few special circumstances where isolated homes in the countryside were supported was where the development would re-use a redundant or disused building and lead to an enhancement of the immediate setting. The building was found to have a regular form, a reasonably balanced appearance and some attractive detailing although it was on the cusp of becoming an eyesore. The conversion would return the building to use and remove clutter, waste and weeds surrounding the building. The land that formed the site was drawn quite tightly around the building. As a consequence, the resulting domestication of the site would be modest. The scheme would therefore enhance its immediate setting and so would comply with paragraph 55 of the Framework. Furthermore, a footway linked the site to a town centre barely a mile away. As a consequence, it was in a reasonably sustainable location for development. Turning to its siting, there were no other agricultural or other business buildings nearby. As a result, the proposal would not be exposed to excessive noise or unpleasant odour. It would therefore provide acceptable living conditions for future occupiers in compliance with paragraph 17 of the NPPF. Its position close to a road behind a hedge would also be in keeping with the siting of other occasional houses found along the road. Whilst the council referred to the scheme as being contrary to the development plan the inspector pointed out that only representations made by the local highway authority, representations made in response to local notices, together with the NPPF should be taken into account.
Inspector: I Radcliffe; Written representations