Outbuilding erected as two separate dwellings

An enforcement notice issued by a west London council has been upheld by an inspector who determined that a single storey building at the rear of two dwellings had been built to accommodate two residential units and not as a gym as asserted by an appellant.

200-002-957 (Image Credit: LB of Hounslow)
200-002-957 (Image Credit: LB of Hounslow)

The appellant owned both properties and had secured a LDC confirming that the erection of a single storey outbuilding could be erected in the rear garden of one of them prior to the removal of a common boundary hedge. Upon investigation by building control officers it was discovered that the building had two halves each with separate doors and windows and with their own facilities for day-to-day living. The council maintained that for the most part the building was used as a gym, as an ancillary office and for domestic storage with tenants being accommodated in early 2013 for short periods of time.

In reviewing the facts the inspector decided that the building had been built with a partition allowing independent access into both halves and each containing a fully functioning bathroom, toilet and facilities to enable kitchens to be installed. Although some storage and use as a gym had occurred it was clear that it had not been wholly used for purposes incidental to the dwelling. Consequently, a breach of control had occurred.

With regard to the steps required to remedy the breach of control the appellant claimed that a cessation of the residential use would suffice. But although the building had been erected within the curtilage of one of the dwellings the removal of the common boundary between them meant that the private amenity space was now communally shared between both properties. Communally held land was not part of the curtilage of any dwelling and consequently no permitted development rights existed. Since no fallback position was available to the appellant the inspector decided that the complete demolition of the building was required to remedy the injury to amenity.

Inspector: Brian Cook; Hearing

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