- Dwellings in the countryside
For many people, the idea of building their own home in the countryside is a dream which often unfortunately fails become a reality. The restrictions of national and local planning policy are usually some of the reasons why.
Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside unless there are ‘special circumstances’. These circumstances include the exceptional quality or innovative nature of the design of the dwelling. This is national policy; it’s in the name.
But is there a way around this? One Appellant based in Essex has certainly found a way!
In brief, a Planning Inspector recently allowed an isolated dwelling in the countryside after determining that the dwelling’s design (which comprised a two-bed chalet style dwelling constructed from straw bales) was locally innovative. He recorded that the council had not directed him to any similar projects locally where the simple method of straw bale construction had been employed as part of an overall design philosophy. Accordingly, he found that the overall project was locally innovative and had the potential to raise the environmental standards and diversity of design in the vicinity.
There is, of course, nothing specifically in paragraph 55 of the NPPF which states that the ‘exceptional quality or innovative nature of the design’ test is set at a national level.
This case lowers the bar than previously thought.
(Article source: DCP online)
(Photo source: www.dellavallearchitects.co.uk)
2. Extensions via Permitted Development
Many of us know that there are certain modifications we can do to our house without the need for planning permission, such as side and rear extensions. This is what is known as Permitted Development.
However, there are certain restrictions to this, one of which includes that an extension would not be Permitted Development if ‘the enlarged part of the dwellinghouse would extend beyond a wall forming a side elevation of the original dwellinghouse and have a width greater than half the width of the original dwellinghouse’
Interestingly though, an Appellant has recently convinced an inspector that a side extension and a rear extension to his house in north London are permitted development because there would be a 5mm gap between them.
The inspector accepted that if the two elements were joined, then the proposed extensions could not be classed as Permitted Development. He reasoned, however, that the proposal indicated that there would be a gap, and the practicalities of constructing the proposal were not a matter for him to consider
Even we’re struggling to understand this one!
(Source: DCP online)