Correct definition of isolated dwelling debated

The environmental benefits of an eco-dwelling with solar array and polytunnel in the Lancashire countryside were judged by an inspector to outweigh the disadvantage of increased private car use.

The site lay in a ribbon of development outside a hamlet and comprised garden land, grazing land and an agricultural building to be demolished. Two previous appeals had been dismissed, an inspector agreeing with the council that the site was isolated and unsuitable for a new dwelling.  The current appeal inspector noted that the NPPF glossary does not define ‘isolated’ and a recent appeal court judgement in Dartford Borough Council v SSCLG 2017 held that development within the curtilage of an existing permanent structure is not isolated. Concluding on this basis that the site could not be considered to be isolated, the inspector nevertheless decided a reliance on the private car made the location unsuited to housing and contrary to policy.

In the final balance, the inspector decided this harm did not outweigh the considerable benefits of the appeal scheme arising from its contribution to addressing the district’s housing shortfall, and other economic and environmental benefits. The environmental sustainability credential of the fully worked up scheme were more detailed than those previously provided in outline applications and could be secured by conditions. As a consequence, the inspector concluded that the proposed development would comprise sustainable development and allowed the appeal.  

Inspector: G Fort; Hearing

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