First home held to meet functional need

An enforcement notice directed against a farm manager's dwelling in Bedfordshire has been upheld after an inspector found that the functional and financial tests set out in annex A of PPS7 had not been met.

The property comprised a three-bedroom house of modernist design with interlocking cubic forms. Another partially completed house overlooked a lake about 60m from the appeal site. This house had been granted planning permission in 2003 under the provisions for construction of isolated new houses in the countryside as exceptions to general policy.

Both sites had been under the same ownership at the time of the application for the house by the lake. It appeared to the inspector that the subsequent division of the land into separate entities was somewhat artificial, since both sites remained in the control of the same family.

The inspector was satisfied that agricultural operations on the farm, which comprised a pig unit and arable area, constituted full-time employment for a manager. However, he felt that the case for a manager's house to provide essential care at short notice was at best tenuous given the farm owners' future occupancy of the other house, which was about the same distance away. He was also unconvinced of the financial soundness of the agricultural activity.

DCS Number 100-050-249

Inspector Stephen Brown; Inquiry.

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