DC Casebook: Housing conversion - Outbuilding held too large for annexe

The conversion of an outbuilding at a house in Hertfordshire into a residential annexe has been rejected following a ruling that it would conflict with countryside restraint policies.

The council contended that the outbuilding, which lay 115m from the main house, was too large and too distant to be regarded as an annexe. The appellants insisted that the structure would be occupied by older family members in association with the main house. They pointed out that the main house would still be four times larger than the appeal building even after the latter was extended.

The inspector acknowledged that its use would still be subordinate to the main house but held that this alone was not an appropriate way of defining an annexe. He reasoned that the appellant's approach could result in annexes amounting to extensive residential properties in themselves where the main houses with which they were associated were very large. He held that regard must be given to its absolute size in deciding whether a conversion could be considered an annexe.

In this case, he concluded that the resulting property would be too large to be considered an annexe. Its size and separation would mean a low level of dependence between its residents and those living in the main house, he reasoned. He concluded that the building's size would be incompatible with the requirements of an annexe and it would be inappropriately located in relation to the main house. It would therefore be inappropriate development in the rural area, he held.

DCS Number 100-058-434

Inspector Jeremy Sargent; Inquiry.

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