DC Casebook: DC Forum

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NEW QUERIES

I am considering options for extending a dwelling in the green belt. The house and two attached barns were built in 1948. None of the buildings have been extended, but both barns have been converted into additional accommodation for the dwelling. The council says the change of use of the barns already constitutes a "disproportionate addition" to the dwelling and therefore no physical extension will be permitted. Is this a reasonable, bearing in mind that throughout this time the openness of the green belt has not been physically affected?

- Paragraph 3.6 of PPG2 advises that extensions to dwellings in the green belt are appropriate if they do not result in disproportionate additions to the original dwelling. The policy's purpose is to maintain the green belt's openness. My personal view is that if a house has been significantly extended through changes of use without harming the green belt's openness, it seems reasonable to oppose actual extensions that would harm this openness. A couple of other people I discussed this issue with supported your view, however. If you lodge an appeal, we would be interested in the outcome. Even though you might not get permission for further extensions, the dwelling could probably be extended using permitted development rights.

- An authority has approved the redevelopment of a large school as new build with some blocks remaining unaltered. The school wishes to retain a small block that was to be demolished but the authority wants the whole application resubmitted. Is this the only approach or can a separate application be submitted? The authority is presumably still using the judgement in Sage v Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions [2003] to avoid a minor amendment being submitted.

- There is no obligation to carry out all work shown on approved plans. For example, if permission is granted for 100 houses but only 50 are built, the houses are not in breach of planning control. Similarly, unless there is a condition requiring the demolition of the block you wish to keep, you should be able to retain it. If you nevertheless feel that an application is necessary for this change to the scheme, it would seem possible to make a submission under the non-material changes procedures that came into force under the Planning Act 2008 on 1 October.

- A warehouse has recently been granted permission for class B2 industrial use and the whole site benefits from the consent. My client wants to use the building as a workshop and park vehicles on the rest of the land. The planning authority has confirmed that permitted development rights still apply, so surfacing the land could be carried out under class C, part 8, schedule 2 of the General Permitted Development Order 1995. However, the planners advise that they would regard parking as storage, and storage uses have been restricted by condition to a defined area. Is there any legal definition of what constitutes storage, as distinct from parking? If the intention behind class C to is to facilitate hard surfacing for industrial or warehouse buildings, why can it not then be used for parking?

- This issue was considered by the Court of Appeal in Crawley Borough Council v Hickmet Ltd [1998]. Parking is interpreted as leaving a car while it is between journeys or during a break in a journey. The vehicle is still in use when parked because there is only a temporary cessation of it being in motion, even though this might be for a comparatively long period. Storage takes place when the vehicle is put away for a period because it is not needed or its use is not anticipated in the short term. So, unless the cars are to be stored under the terms of this test, the condition restricting storage would not apply.

- My local authority has refused a lawful development certificate for a 3m rear extension to a rendered house in a conservation area. The extension would be rendered so as to be "of a similar appearance" to the dwelling to comply with requirement A.3(a) in class A, part 1, schedule 2 of the General Permitted Development Order 1995 as amended. The application was refused as non-compliant with class A.2(a) because the extension is rendered, which is not permitted in a conservation area. The authority concedes that an application is likely to be approved, but the order is surely designed to relieve the system of uncontentious applications. Has the authority any discretion on this?

- The class A.2(a) restriction on article 1(5) land refers to "the cladding of any part of the exterior of the dwellinghouse". I would interpret this to refer to the cladding of an existing dwellinghouse. It would not be intended to prevent the scenario you describe, a rendered extension to a rendered house, though it would have been clearer if the order specified "the exterior of an existing dwellinghouse". It is possible that an appeal against refusal would be successful and we would be interested in any outcome. On the other hand, if your client is keen for an early start on the extension, it might be simpler to make a planning application.


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