Casebook: Appeal Cases - Householder development - Glass wall permitted development claim foiled

An enforcement notice directed against a glass block wall and spiral staircase at a house in west London has been quashed on its merits, although an inspector agreed that they were unauthorised developments.

The inspector considered that the glass wall had a different appearance from the section of stock brick wall it replaced and that it materially altered the building's external appearance. On that basis, he held that its installation was development under section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. He determined that neither the wall nor the spiral staircase formed any part of the proposals for which approval had been granted.

The appellant explained that he intended to complete a glazed roof over an authorised terrace. The glass blocks would then become a window and as such would be permitted development under class A.1(d), part 1, schedule 2 of the General Permitted Development Order 1995, he maintained. But the inspector pointed out that permitted development rights do not apply retrospectively.

The wall was excluded from class A.1(d) because it lay within 2m of the boundary of the dwelling and was more than 4m high, he added. On the merits of the development, however, he found that the staircase and glass wall caused no harm to the building's appearance, the conservation area in which it was located or neighbours' living conditions and allowed them to be retained.

The inspector went on to quash an enforcement notice directed against planters installed on the roof of the development. The council contended that they were structures and therefore prohibited by a condition of the planning permission. Citing the tests of size, permanence and physical attachment laid down in the judgement in Cardiff Rating Authority v Guest Keen Baldwin's Iron and Steel Co Ltd (1949), he opined that the small free-standing wooden plant containers could not be regarded as constituting any part of a building for the purposes of section 336 of the act.

DCS No: 100039181; Inspector: Christopher Craig; Hearing.

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