CASEBOOK: Appeal cases - Householder development - Staff accommodation at country retreat justified

A proposal to build staff accommodation at a country house in Hampshire has been approved after an inspector held that it was fully justified in order to meet the needs of the occupants.

The property was located in an isolated position, having originally been built by the Admiralty as part of a long-defunct semaphore line from Portsmouth to Plymouth. It had been refurbished into a substantial country residence and the appellant claimed that there was no room to accommodate staff within the main building.

The inspector concluded that it was highly likely that occupiers would be of considerable means and would require staff to assist them in a range of domestic, supervisory and security duties. He noted that the appellant was chief executive of an international business which required him and his family to spend most of their time in London. As a result, the property was often left unsupervised, leading to a spate of burglaries.

On that basis, the inspector concluded that there was a clear functional need for the accommodation even when the family was not present. The staff would be able to prepare for the family's return at weekends, clear up on Mondays and support the appellant when he was able to reside during the week, he reasoned.

DCS No: 52280320; Inspector: Peter Drew; Hearing.

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