Restriction on dwelling occupation reasonable and necessary

A condition imposed on a planning permission for a barn conversion in the Lake District national park which restricted the occupancy of the dwelling to a person employed or last employed in the county of Cumbria has been held to remain necessary and reasonable.

The appellant asserted that the condition imposed in 2003 did not accord with paragraph 206 of the national planning policy framework (NPPF) and the local authority’s core strategy. There was no evidence to indicate that the dwelling would become a second home and in any event its imposition prevented effective marketing of the property and its value. He relied on a ruling of the European Court of Justice which concluded that a limitation on who could buy or lease a property was unlawful because it also protected the more affluent in the local area which had no need for such protection.

In rejecting these claims the inspector held that the terms of the condition remained in accordance with national policy and advice since the barn was located in a national park and it was imperative that new dwellings should be focused on meeting the needs of local people. It remained relevant to planning and there was little evidence to indicate that the dwelling could not be sold to a person capable of meeting the terms of the condition. Local occupancy conditions were not primarily intended to control the price and affordability of housing but to ensure the vibrancy and sustainability of communities.

The ruling of the European court in respect of a Flemish decree was not directly relevant, the inspector held, because the condition was not intended to act as a financial control over house prices. Rather, it was aimed at ensuring that the social and economic well-being of the local community in the national park was maintained.

Inspector: George Arrowsmith; Written representations

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