House from underground reservoir denied due to inadequate access

An inspector decided the conversion of a Devon reservoir to a dwelling was not permitted development under Class P of the GPDO, having regard to matters relating to transport and highways.

Schedule 2, Part 3, Class P of the GPDO sets out that development is classed as permitted development if it consists of a change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from a use falling within Class B8 storage or distribution centre to a Class C3 dwellinghouse.

The council had refused to grant prior approval partly on the basis that operational development in the form of alterations to the mainly subterranean building would be required to turn it into a dwelling. The inspector, however, noted the conditions, limitations and restrictions of Class P do not require details of any building or other operations at the time of application, unlike other categories of changes of use falling under Part 3 of the GPDO. The appellant had also confirmed that any alterations to the building would be the subject of a separate application, and the inspector was satisfied that the proposed development could be considered under Class P.

The council’s refusal also related to non-compliance with the limitations of the class concerning acceptable transport and highways impact. After the highway authority objected to use of an existing bridleway as an access track due to highway safety issues where it linked to a trunk road, the appellant worked with the council to explore a possible alternative route. The inspector agreed with the council that the alternative section of bridleway was substandard and necessary bridge strengthening works on land not under the control of the appellant had not been secured. He concluded that the application had failed to demonstrate that the proposal would not result in an unacceptable transport and highways impact and did not constitute Class P permitted development.

Inspector: M Aqbal; Written representations

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