As a referral from our colleagues at Broadoak Building Design, we assessed the merits of a refused planning application for a replacement dwelling and sizeable garage with annex accommodation over.
Planning permission had already been granted for the replacement dwelling, so the main bone of contention was the size of the proposed garage and the use of the first floor over it as annex accommodation in place of a mobile home on the site.
We won the appeal and, having applied for full costs to be awarded to our client, the award of full costs was the cherry on top!
In the Council’s reason for refusal, in reference to Core Strategy policy DM 2, it states that “the enlarged garage with first floor living accommodation above, would result in unacceptable additional development in open countryside that would be in an unsustainable location and would have unacceptable impacts on the visual amenities of this rural location”. However, neither the unsustainable location nor the unacceptable impacts on the visual amenities has been explained in any detail in the submitted Council documentation.
In regards to the location, it is accepted by all parties that this is a rural location, but the proposed development is a replacement dwelling with ancillary accommodation above a garage. The site currently has a dwelling with outbuildings, including a mobile home used as ancillary accommodation. As such, the proposals would not result in an increase of dwellings at the site and so it is not clear why the issue of the unsustainable location has been included in the reason for refusal.
In regards to the visual impacts, this has not been substantiated with any evidence. Moreover, the Council’s delegated report states that the development would result in a more “appropriate condensed built form” from the existing arrangement, which would “improve the character and appearance of the site when the older elements of the site are removed.” On this basis, it is not clear how the development proposed would lead to an adverse visual impact when there are visual benefits for the site.
This demonstrates that the Council has included vague and unsubstantiated reasons for refusal.
I have taken into consideration the Council’s rebuttal, which includes an explanation why conditions or negotiations could not have overcome the reasons for refusal. However, this rebuttal does not sufficiently explain the lack of substantiated evidence or explanation regarding the harm the development would cause that led to this refusal.