Our client’s house sits in a large plot with extensive grounds in a recognised Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The house is largely shielded from view by extensive woodland.
The house had been extended in the past and our client wanted a relatively simple two-storey rear extension that fitted between two existing wings and would barely be noticeable to anyone outside of the site.
The Council has a planning policy that gives guidance as to the maximum amount that a dwelling should be extended by in certain circumstances. In this case the Council took a fairly intransigent attitude regarding this number and failed to acknowledge the lack of harm that would arise from the proposal. The issue was the subject of appeal to the Secretary of State and to quote submitted appeal statement:
"Unfortunately it would appear in this instance that a set of “rules” is exactly what has led the Officer to determine the acceptability or not of the proposal, with considerable effort being made to discuss numbers and percentages and little being put into prescribing impact and harm which can only lead to the assumption that there was no harm to prescribe."
To compound the argument JCE undertook research dating back over 60 years and were able to demonstrate that the figures the Council had relied on were wrong. A complex set of 3-D images were produced to illustrate our findings.
Working closely with a Planning Barrister we were able to demonstrate that the Council had also given far too much weight to out of date policies and even elevated un-adopted policies above their legal status.
We were delighted when the Appeal Inspector agreed with every point we had made and granted planning permission commenting that the design of the proposed extension would actually result in an improvement to the house.