Green belt dwelling extension threshold strictly applied

In rejecting an extension to a dwelling within the Essex green belt an inspector decided that a council policy which allowed only a 25 per cent increase in floorspace had to be strictly applied.

The site had contained a bungalow, granted permission in 1960. This had been completely replaced by another dwelling in 1995. The council asserted that the earlier bungalow constituted the ‘original’ dwelling and on this basis the 35m2 extension, together with the additional space added when the new dwelling was built, would involve a doubling in floorspace.

The inspector decided that the dwelling built in 1995 constituted the ‘original’ dwelling as defined in the NPPF. This stated that the ‘original building’ was a building which existed in July 1948 or if built after that date as it was built originally. On this basis the extension would involve a 31 per cent increase which exceeded a 25 per cent limit set out in a development management policy. Neither the policy nor supporting text provided any flexibility and the extension would thus constitute inappropriate development. It would also reduce the openness of the green belt but to a limited degree. The needs of the appellant’s wife, who worked as a cognitive therapist from home, did not amount to the very special circumstances required to allow the appeal.

Inspector: K Child; Written representations

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