The building would contain garaging, stabling, storage and office space and ancillary self-contained accommodation. The council claimed that in view of the physical separation of the building from the main dwelling and the level of accommodation proposed, it could be used independently. The building should be treated as being tantamount to a new dwelling in the countryside, it asserted.
The inspector noted that the proposal did not indicate a self-contained residential unit within a separate curtilage. None of the council's policies indicated that ancillary accommodation in an outbuilding would be treated as an independent dwelling, he opined.
In his view, any future pressure for the use of the building as a house could be resisted having regard to local and national policies for the countryside. It would remain subservient to the main house and its design would not appear overly grand or otherwise incongruous, he concluded.
DCS Number 100-064-129
Inspector David Leeming; Hearing
EDITOR'S COMMENT: The two cases above are interesting because of the apparently different approaches taken by the inspectors. In the East Sussex proposal, the inspector was convinced that it could lead to the creation of a new dwelling in conflict with countryside policies even though the submitted details made clear that ancillary accommodation was proposed linked to an enforceable planning obligation.
Conversely, in the Gloucestershire case the inspector treated the scheme on the basis that the appellant was seeking ancillary accommodation and took the view that any future proposal for the creation of a new dwelling within the building could be successfully resisted.
These decisions highlight the dilemma faced by inspectors in deciding whether it is appropriate to predict what might happen to buildings in the future when applications make no mention of any independent residential use.