Council ordered to determine green belt garage case

The High Court has ordered a Bedfordshire council to consider a revised application for a garage at a green belt dwelling after the authority was found to have taken into account an irrelevant matter.

Permission for a garage granted in 2007 had lapsed. In 2011, the claimant built a substantially larger garage and the council took enforcement action requiring its demolition. An appeal inspector (DCS Number 400-006-655) found that the garage, along with various extensions, had led to a disproportionately large and harmful increase of 130 per cent in built development at the site, and upheld the enforcement notice.

Last year, the claimant submitted a revised application that would result in a 111 per cent increase in floorspace overall. The council declined to determine the application, concluding that it still represented a disproportionate addition and if approved would alter the terms of the enforcement notice, which remained in force. The claimant argued that the council had erred in concluding that the proposal was substantially the same as the appeal one and should not have taken the notice into account.

Mrs Justice Lang supported the council on the first point, noting that the garage as proposed was on the exact footprint of the existing and, although reduced in height and depth, was substantially the same in scale and nature. However, she held that the council had been wrong to conclude that deciding the case would alter the terms of the enforcement notice and this should have had no bearing on its decision. The application was remitted back to the council for redetermination.

R (Gill) v Central Bedfordshire Council

Date: 2 December 2015

Ref: [2015] EWHC 3458 (Admin)

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