DC Casebook: Housing: New build - Garden home passes curtilage scrutiny

An appeal for a house on garden land in Northumberland has been allowed after an inspector established that it would lie within the curtilage of an existing property.

The council asserted that the site lay outside the garden and therefore did not comprise previously developed land. It argued that the garden area associated with the proposed house would be inadequate and voiced concern that the appellant had made no financial contribution towards improving open space and outdoor sports facilities.

After reviewing legal precedents on the definition of a building's curtilage, the inspector noted that the most important factors are physical layout, ownership and past and present use of the land. The site had clearly been owned and occupied in conjunction with the appellant's house for some years and had the character and appearance of a domestic garden, he found. It was physically separated from the main part of the garden by a road but this was narrow and little used, he noted. He found in favour of the appellant on this issue.

In assessing the planning merits, he decided that the proposed garden area was adequate. While the council's supplementary planning guidance sought financial contributions towards improved open space and recreational facilities, he found that this appeared to apply to schemes of at least five houses. Consequently there was no need for any financial payment, he decided.

DCS Number 100-058-211

Inspector John Deakin; Written representations.

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