Casebook: Appeal cases - Householder Development. Car restoration use held continuous despite fire

A lawful development certificate has been granted for the storage and restoration of a private collection of up to 40 vintage and historic cars and motorbikes in Surrey.

The council did not dispute that the use had existed for at least ten years before June 2003, when a serious fire destroyed storage buildings, cars and motorbikes. However, it asserted that the destruction of the buildings was fatal to the continuity of the use and opened a fresh chapter in its planning history. But the inspector observed that other buildings at the site were large enough to allow the storage and restoration use to continue under cover in a materially significant way.

He found no reason to doubt the appellant's assertion that he had continued to restore and store vehicles on the land since the fire, despite the lack of independent corroboration of the situation in the immediate aftermath.

Having regard to Gabbitas v Secretary of State for the Environment and London Borough of Newham (1985), which confirmed that an appellant's evidence does not need to be supported by additional information provided it is clear and unambiguous, he allowed the appeal.

DCS No: 100039291; Inspector: Alan Bragg; Written representations.

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