Permission had been granted in 1999 for conversion of barns to form four units of holiday accommodation. The application to remove the occupancy condition related only to one barn containing two units, and did not seek to remove the restriction from the other two units. The condition had already been breached, with the two former units amalgamated into one single unit and occupied as a permanent dwelling.
The main issues were whether such a dwelling would be appropriate in a rural location, with particular regard to access to services and facilities; and the effect of the loss of holiday accommodation on local tourism appeal. The inspector found that with the barn already converted for a residential use, development plan policies resisting the creation of isolated homes in the open countryside and requiring an assessment of accessibility to services and facilities did not apply. Acknowledging the likelihood of some positive benefit on the local primary school, which holiday accommodation would not provide, and given that the barn already had a residential use and would not result in new building in the countryside, the inspector found the proposal in accordance with the general thrust of paragraphs 78 and 79 of the NPPF and not in conflict with local policies.
In terms of loss tourist accommodation, the inspector found evidence of low holiday occupancy rates unchallenged by contrary evidence of a need to retain the accommodation, noting also the council’s officer report indicating an acceptance that the property had been adequately previously marketed at a realistic price in an effort to attract holiday makers. The inspector also rejected claims that permanent residential use would increase domestic paraphernalia to the detriment of the AONB and allowing the appeal, imposed a new condition ensuring continued control over the two remaining holiday units of accommodation.
Inspector: M Bale; Written representations