Definition of isolated dwelling debated

An inspector removed a restrictive occupancy condition to allow the continued use of a detached annexe as a separate dwelling in the Bedfordshire countryside.

The inspector found local rural restraint policy applying a general presumption against new houses in the countryside and a policy requirement for a proven need for all new rural dwellings, to be inconsistent with the national framework. The inspector therefore accorded only limited weight to local policy, noting the NPPF does not impose a blanket restriction on development within the open countryside or require proof of need, except for rural worker dwellings, and paragraph 55 requires special circumstances only where the dwelling would be isolated.

Considering whether the property was isolated, the inspector found no definition in the NPPF. In view of the existence of the building and established residential use, and easy access to a basic range of facilities for day-to-day living without necessitating private car travel, the inspector decided the annex was not physically or functionally isolated and he was not required to find special circumstances to justify a separate dwelling which caused no harm to the dimensions of sustainable development.

Inspector: Graham Wyatt; Written representations

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