Casebook: Appeal cases - Agricultural Development - Residential use of farm building deemed lawful

An inspector has granted a lawful development certificate for the occupation of a building at a farm in Devon, concluding that it had acquired immunity over the previous four years. In so finding he also granted permission for the use of a timber shed as an office.

The appellant claimed that the building had been occupied since 1997 by a variety of people, including members of his family and farm staff, at different times. But the council asserted that the occupation was not independent of the main farmhouse because there was no separate water, power or drainage supply. It also claimed that the building had not been occupied continuously as a dwellinghouse for a period of four years.

The inspector noted that over the relevant four-year period there were short periods, amounting to the odd week, when the building was not occupied.

However, he held that occasional non-occupation was insufficient to render its use as a dwellinghouse unlawful. The building clearly provided facilities for day-to-day existence and this justified a certificate, he held.

DCS No: 33783181; Inspector: Dennis Morden; Inquiry.

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