DC Casebook: DC Forum

Email your queries or your replies to earlier queries to casebook@haymarket.com or post them to Development Control Casebook Forum, DCS Ltd, Casebook Suite 1, Fullers Court, 40 Lower Quay Street, Gloucester GL1 2LW. Comment and post at PlanningResource.co.uk/forum/dc


My client wishes to extend a rural railway station that has been converted to a house. One elevation faces the former railway, which is now a permissive path, and the other faces the former car park area, now part of the garden. The council considers both to be principal elevations, which severely restricts permitted development rights. Is this correct? HL.

Class A.1 (d)(ii), part 1, schedule 2 of the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) 1995 as amended last October refers to "the" rather than "a" principal elevation of a dwellinghouse. Normally the use of the definite article would imply that a dwelling can only have one principal elevation. Additional advice on the amendment order published by the DCLG on the Planning Portal advises: "The GPDO refers to 'the principal elevation', so the assumption is that there will be just one principal elevation." However, it then adds: "In some corner plots it may be that more than one elevation has the character of a principal elevation." This advice makes answering your query difficult. Does it mean that houses can have two principal elevations, or does it mean that a house on a corner plot has just one but it is L-shaped? If the former interpretation is accepted, the council in your case could be correct. The latter interpretation suggests that there cannot be two principal elevations on the opposite sides of a building. I would recommend making one or more lawful development certificate applications and appealing if necessary. We would be interested to hear the outcome. This is yet another example of unclear wording in the amendment order causing interpretation difficulties. JH.

A first-floor nightclub above a ground-floor bar was destroyed by fire and what was left was demolished, so the first-floor slab is now effectively the building's roof. A month before the fire the nightclub was changed to a lap-dancing club. An application has been submitted to rebuild the nightclub. As the first floor has been completely removed and the use rights have been lost, can the council reconsider the principle of a nightclub in this location? Can it impose a condition to prevent the nightclub being used as a lap-dancing club? SK.

Issues relating to replacing fire-damaged structures are considered in Development Control Practice 4.325. Applying the principles of lddenden v Hampshire County Council [1972], use rights are lost if a building is destroyed and there is no right to reinstate it. Having said that, your authority could give weight to the fact that the nightclub was lost as the result of misfortune and grant permission for its rebuilding, even if that might not normally be granted in this location. As lap dancing is controlled by the Licensing Act 2003, a condition preventing such a use would be most unlikely to be supported on appeal. Circular 11/1995 advises against conditions that duplicate other controls. However, other conditions to control amenity impacts, such as operating hours and soundproofing, could be imposed. JH.

Please advise on fees payable to confirm compliance with conditions on consents that are solely required as a result of removal of permitted development rights through an article 4 direction or planning condition. For example, what fee would be payable for external finishes on an extension in a conservation area that only requires permission because of an article 4 direction? I have looked through the regulations and Circular 04/2008 but there appears to be no mention of an exemption in such cases. PS.

Regulation 5 of the Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) Regulations 1989 provides exemption for proposals that would be permitted development but for an article 4 direction or planning condition. However, it only applies the exemption to regulation 3, which relates to normal applications for planning permission. Ironic though it may seem, there is no exemption for confirmation that conditions have been complied with when a proposal is permitted development. JH.


PH enquired whether an outbuilding with a mansard-style roof rising to 3.95m at the ridge requires planning permission (Planning, 7 August, p21).

- PH's description of a roof "with very steeply sloping sides and a much more shallowly sloping top coming to a ridge" would suggest that this is actually a gambrel roof. The website www.answers.com/topic/dual-pitched-roof-1 cites a gambrel roof as having a dual-pitched roof. Do you stick to your opinion that this would not be permitted development? AM.

- I was not familiar with the term "gambrel roof" when I answered the original query, but it seems the term has different meanings in the UK and the USA. In the UK the term means a half-hipped roof, but the roof I described would seem to meet the US definition. The website you refer to is American and therefore would have limited weight in the interpretation of English legislation. I still do not consider the roof to be dual-pitched, but it is just possible that an inspector in a planning appeal could take a different view as this is an issue of interpretation. JH.

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