Green belt bungalow decision upheld given Inspector's reasoning

The High Court supported an inspector's decision to dismiss an appeal involving the construction of a bungalow in the green belt concluding that the approach adopted by the inspector was consistent with the NPPF.

The applicant had sought consent to replace a mobile home and vehicle storage yard with a three bedroom dwelling. The inspector decided at appeal that the proposed development would have a considerably greater impact on the openness of the green belt than the existing lawful use and did not fall within the sixth exception of paragraph 89 of the NPPF. That only allowed partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed sites where no greater impact on the green belt would arise and the inspector held that this requirement was not met. This conclusion was challenged on the basis that the inspector had failed to assess the relative sizes of the existing and proposed development.

Mrs Justice Lang agreed that sixth exception outlined in paragraph 89 focused on comparative impact and the effect on other purposes of the green belt as set out in paragraph 80. The inspector had been entitled not to adopt the volumetric approach outlined by the claimant which included the size of the mobile home and 11 trucks on the land. From the perspective of openness the claimant was not comparing like with like since the mobile home and trucks were moveable whereas the dwelling would be permanent. The inspector had also concluded that the trucks were lower in height than the front façade of the proposed roof and this was quintessentially a planning judgment. The challenge was rejected.

Turner v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Date: 7 October 2015

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