Mobile chicken sheds constitute a building

A studio building constructed from mobile chicken sheds, and two stone trackways constructed in open countryside in Carmarthenshire, were deemed unlawful development not permitted by the GPDO as they were not intended for an agricultural purpose.

The appellant claimed their original intention for the two fields that constituted the appeal site, and which adjoined their dwelling, was to use the land for herb growing in connection with a proposed enterprise producing herbal teas. The mobile chicken shed frames were initially intended to be used to form a loose structure which would serve to dry the cut herbs. However, the inspector noted that no cultivation of herbs in the two fields had materialised; moreover, the design and form of the building had changed during construction and appeared to have been used partly as a quiet space for rest and recuperation for the appellant and also as a studio for writing and recreational activities. The inspector held it constituted operational development based on its size, means of construction and permanence.

The council had claimed the building was used for residential purposes as it had a fridge and propane gas burner, but the inspector disagreed, stating the building lacked the basic facilities normally associated with a dwelling such as a kitchen, internal water supply and washing/bathing facilities. He termed its use as a recreational studio. However, as the building which had materialised was not designed, and had not been used, for an agricultural purpose, the inspector declared there was no arguable case that it might benefit from permitted development rights under the GPDO.

Aerial photography evidenced that the two stone trackways also at the appeal site had been laid since 2015 to form vehicular routes to the highway from the existing appellant’s dwelling adjoining the site and from the newly constructed studio building. The inspector held the scale, nature and extent of the works undertaken by the appellant went far beyond what could reasonably be characterised as the routine repair or maintenance of any previously existing trackway, as claimed by the appellant. He also held that the works undertaken to form trackways were again not reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture within an agricultural unit and so would not benefit from permitted development rights contained in the GPDO. The inspector concluded the council’s decision not to issue a certificate of lawfulness for an existing use or development in respect of the studio and trackways was well-founded.

Inspector: Alwyn Nixon; Hearing

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