Permitted development and fallback positions examined by court

An inspector's decision to refuse a LDC confirming that various extensions to a property in Hertfordshire and within the metropolitan green belt and AONB was sound, the High Court has ruled, concluding that the correct approach to interpreting paragraph A.2(c) of Class A of Part 1 to schedule 2 of the GPDO 1995 had been followed. The inspector also refused to grant retrospective permission for the works.

The owner of the house stated that the works had already been undertaken when the inspector considered the matter. He alleged that most of the works comprised permitted development and this was an important fallback position when considering whether they should be retained. A rear extension did not exceed more than one storey in height, the claimant argued,and consequently was permitted under paragraph A.2 (c). He also challenged the decision on the basis that the inspector should have given greater weight to the impact on the green belt under the fallback position compared with the extensions as built.

Deputy High Court judge Neil Cameron QC reviewed the background and agreed that the existence of permitted development rights was capable of amounting to a fallback position. The inspector had correctly understood the limitation imposed on extensions to dwellings within AsONB as reflected in article 1(5) of the order. This prevented an extension to a dwelling in excess of one storey where it extended beyond the original rear wall of the property. The inspector had concluded that the extension was built out from a first floor rear wall and this was the correct approach to adopt, the judge concluded.

In respect of a further complaint that the inspector had misinterpreted Article 3(5) of the order the judged held that this was unfounded. The inspector had properly concluded that where any part of the construction of a building was unlawful then all permitted development rights were excluded. Consequently, a proper understanding of the fallback position had been exhibited and the challenge was rejected.

Evans v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government;

Date: 5 December 2014; Ref: CO/2164/2014

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