DC Casebook: Householder development - Further extension blocked in green belt

An appellant whose son is aiming to compete in the 2012 Olympics has failed to secure permission to extend his home in the Essex green belt, with an inspector deciding that very special circumstances have not been demonstrated.

The scheme involved filling in a gap between a garage and the house with a pitched roof extension, front and rear dormers in the garage, a single-storey rear extension to house a guard dog and a rear conservatory. The council calculated that the property, which had replaced a previous dwelling in 1990, had a volume of 560m3 when built. Extensions of 502m3 and 225m3 had been permitted in 1994 and 1995, giving rise to a 130 per cent increase in the volume of the original.

The council pointed out that the appeal proposal, involving an extra 225m2 of floor space, would lead to a cumulative increase of 170 per cent on the original house. This breached supplementary planning guidance recommending that homes in the green belt should not be extended by more than 20 per cent of their original volume, it maintained.

The inspector agreed that the dwelling had already been extended significantly in excess of the council's guidelines and had no hesitation in concluding that the appeal proposal would involve a disproportionate addition. It would substantially increase the footprint and bulk of the dwelling in conflict with green belt policies, he concluded.

In assessing the very special circumstances argued by the appellant, he noted that the council had already permitted a very large stable complex and covered manege of 4,700m2. It had allowed this facility on the basis that it would be used as an Olympic-standard equestrian centre to help the appellant's son fulfil his competitive ambitions. The proposed extensions to the dwelling were designed to support the equestrian use, entertain visitors and house visiting horse trainers.

The inspector observed that the manege was restricted to the personal use of the appellant's family and could not be used by visiting riders or competitors. He thus decided that the appellant's wish to provide extra accommodation did not amount to the very special circumstances required to justify inappropriate green belt development.

DCS Number 100-058-351

Inspector Ian Broyd; Hearing.

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