Council method faulted on extension permitted rights

An inspector has disagreed with a Surrey council's method for assessing whether a planned extension to a dwelling breached the provisions of the GPDO 1995.

The council asserted that the extension would fail to comply with paragraph A.1(f)(ii) of class A, part 1, schedule 2 the order, which stipulates that proposed operations are not permitted development if they are within seven metres of the boundary of the curtilage of a dwellinghouse opposite the rear wall.

The council had treated the wall on the opposite side of the house to the wall to which the extension would be joined as being the rear wall of the property. This had involved taking a measurement through the house between a point where the extension joined the external wall and the boundary of the curtilage of the dwelling opposite.

The inspector decided that this was an extraordinary approach, given that the seven-metre distance was normally calculated by measuring the external distance between a rear extension and a boundary wall. This was because the order was intended to protect the amenity of adjoining residents who might be affected by an extension, he noted. He reasoned that it would be most unusual if neighbours’ amenity could be affected by an extension built on the opposite side of a house, drawing support for his approach from technical guidance published by government.

In the inspector’s opinion, the extension would be added to a side wall of the dwelling and failed to meet the requirements of paragraph A.1(h). He reached this conclusion after deducing that the wall did not comprise a front or rear wall and by definition therefore comprised a side wall for the purposes of the order and government guidance.

Inspector: David Hainsworth; Written representations


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