Loft conversion at farm worker's dwelling fails

A loft conversion at a farm worker's dwelling in Devon would unacceptably increase the size of the property thereby affecting its long term affordability, an inspector has ruled.

The dwelling extended to 152m2, and permission had been granted on the basis of a functional need established by the appellant’s free range organic poultry business. Due to the appellant’s ill health and subsequent cancer diagnosis, the business had ceased in 2013. The conversion of the loft would enable his daughter and family to live with him and his wife thereby allowing the business to become re-established and expanded.

In expressing sympathy for the appellant’s predicament the inspector ruled that it was necessary to establish a need for the additional space and the ability of the property to remain affordable to other agricultural workers. The majority of the arguments put forward by the appellant were of a personal nature and since it would lead to a 40 per cent increase in floorspace above a maximum of 165m2 set out within a council’s supplementary planning document, it would have an impact on the dwelling’s affordability for farm workers. Although it was claimed that the cost of conversion would exceed the uplift in value the appellant had not substantiated this claim, the inspector decided, and consequently the planned increase in size was contrary to the principles of sustainable development in the countryside.

Inspector: Veronica Bond; Hearing

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