Chalet for carers judged independent use

An inspector has granted planning permission for the retention of a chalet in the garden of a house in Essex despite finding that it was in breach of planning controls.

The chalet contained a bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen-diner. It was occupied by a couple working for the appellants, who lived in the main dwelling. The occupants' duties included caring for the appellants' disabled daughter and working in the garden. The appellants claimed that the use was incidental to their enjoyment of the house and was no different from a granny annexe.

The inspector accepted that planning permission would not be required if the chalet was occupied by a family member or was directly incidental to the dwellinghouse. However, he considered that the chalet was effectively occupied by the carer and her partner and that they had no ties to the family other than the working arrangement.

He decided that it was used as an independent accommodation unit. Despite this conclusion, he took into account specialist medical evidence that the appellants' daughter needed full-time care. On that basis, he was prepared to grant permission for retention of the chalet provided its occupation was restricted to carers for the child.

DCS Number 100-050-483

Inspector Richard Perrins; Inquiry.

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