Development management answers: Granny annexe query

Q Our local authority is currently receiving an increasing number of planning applications for detached granny annexes within the curtilage of dwellings.

These are mostly self-contained and have all the facilities needed for a new dwelling, including bedrooms, lounges, kitchens and bathrooms. It is likely that the authority would impose a condition requiring such annexes to remain ancillary to the existing dwelling, and therefore within its curtilage, when permission is granted. In that light, should applicants pay an application fee of £462 for a new dwelling or £206 for domestic works? MT

A It might seem surprising, but the case of Uttlesford District Council v Secretary of State for the Environment and White [1992] showed that there can be two separate dwellings on one plot and it remains one planning unit. This is where the second dwelling is occupied by a dependant or staff. To assess the fee for a granny annexe, one needs to look at categories 1, 6 and 7 of schedule 1 of the Town and County Planning Fee Regulations 2012 as amended. Category 1, the "dwelling" category, specifically states that it does not apply to development in category 6, covering "extensions to dwellings". This seems to indicate that an application for a granny annexe attached to a house is in category 6. It would seem anomalous if a detached granny annexe attracted a higher application fee. My reading of category 7 is that it covers operations "for purposes ancillary to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse as such". Erecting a granny annexe or staff dwelling would fit that category. Thus the fee for a granny annexe, whether attached or detached, would be £206. John Harrison

Q Is it possible to vary a reserved matters consent outside the time limit specified in the condition on the original outline planning permission? JM

A One cannot use section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to vary a reserved matters approval. Section 73 can only be used to vary a planning permission. The outline consent is the planning permission and this can be varied through section 73, but a reserved matters approval cannot. Liz Nicholson This may well be right, but I do wonder whether the outline permission and the reserved matters approval together constitute the planning permission. John Harrison

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