Editor's pick: Dwellings held to exceed permitted rights limit

A Devon farmer has been refused prior approval to convert agricultural buildings to three dwellings after an inspector decided that this would exceed the maximum number allowed on the holding under permitted development rights.

In opposing the scheme, the council claimed that the curtilages shown on the submitted drawings exceeded the land area occupied by each building, thus conflicting with the definition of "curtilage" under classes M, MA and MB in paragraph O of part 3, schedule 2 of the General Permitted Development Order 1995 as amended. The inspector referred to an amended plan showing that the curtilages would not exceed the footprint of each building.

Secondly, the council maintained that the total number of dwellings on the holding would exceed the limit of three units specified in paragraph MB.1(c). The inspector acknowledged that paragraph 7.4 of the explanatory memorandum to the order states that up to 450 square metres of agricultural buildings can change to residential use under this provision, with a maximum of up to three dwellings.

However, he considered that the actual wording of the statute should be applied, and on his reading  paragraph MB.1(c) set the cumulative total of dwellings on any established agricultural unit to three for permitted development rights to apply. While the appellant's other two properties were used for holiday lets, he ruled that they nonetheless contributed towards the total number of dwelling units on the holding.

Inspector: Martin Andrews; Written representations

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