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Tax Accountant
17-07-2006, 12:27 PM
Hi, I would appreciate views of the experts in this area regarding a planning appeal decision which I find unusual.

The appeal concerned a two storey side extension right upto the boundary. The local authority rejected the application because of their concerns of causing a ''terracing effect''.

They also rejected a 3.9 metres single storey rear extension (a conservatory) due to causing ''unacceptable loss of light and adverse impact to the adjoining neighbour''.

The Planning Inspector rejected both arguments and confirmed that he did not share the Council's views on the grounds on which it had rejected the application.

However he dismissed the appeal on broader grounds that building upto the boundary (without leaving a metres space for access and maintenance) would harm the character and apperance of the area contrary to LP Policy and aspects of the advice in the DG.'' He was influenced by the PPS 1 which indicated that design which fails to take opportunities available for improving the character and quality of an area should not be accepted. His main concern was that the other half of the semi had extended similarly but a metre away from the boundary. To build upto the boundary would upset the balance and symmentry of the pair of semis.

(1) Is it reasonable for an Inspector dismiss an appeal on grounds which are not even contemplated, let alone raised, by the Local Authority?

(2) Is it normal or reasonable for an Inspector dismiss the appeal against the second main point of the rear extension on grounds of his findings in relation to the first main point?

(3) Do you have any practical suggestions how best to proceed further.

Thank you for your comments and views.

pdk
17-07-2006, 13:20 PM
was the appeal by written reps or a hearing..??

Peter

pdk
17-07-2006, 13:43 PM
Just to initiate the discussion, and assuming it was a written representations appeal, it would seem from what I have read in the Planning Encyclopedia that the Inspector has a duty to refer to all material conderations... there is a multitude of case law just on this point...

On written reps appeals, there is NO specific obligation imposed on the Inspector to provide reasons for a decision, although a duty to provide reasons might be inferred from the broader duty to have regard to all material considerations.

The Encyclopedia states: 'There are no clear rules as to the extent to which an Inspector in an appeal conducted by written representations is obliged himself to initiate further inquiries where he deems it necessary in order to come to a fair conclusion...' Because there are no clear rules it would seem that, in order to have regard to all material considerations, an Inspector could pick up on a point not mentioned by either side...

It would seem then, that if the Inspector had in front of him a 1m set back rule in the Design Guidance and also relying on PPS1, he could have come to a view that was essentially a new view... The Inspector is not similarly bound like the Council to the reasons for refusal...

My concern over my brief reading is that there might be cases which weigh the other way...

I think my advice at this stage (which is without seeing the appeal case!!) is to write an assertive letter to the Planning Inspectorate questioning what occurred... Then you should get a considered response... The Inspectorate will always want to cover themselves so you should get a well thought out letter back...

Your other alternatives is to take on a planning consultant and/or barrister to give an opinion, but why not wait for the Inspector's response??

My further concern about this case is that even if you are able to challenge the decision (note: this MUST be within 6 weeks form decision date) it will not be cost effective for you to do so... This might mean that you are forced to re-apply with the setback...

I hope that helps!!!

Regards,

PETER

Tax Accountant
17-07-2006, 16:24 PM
Peter,

Thanks for your reply.

An outsider may be forgiven for thinking that the Appeal Inspector's decision related to a special kind of property situated in a special interest area whereby he was influenced by the PPS 1 which indicated that design which fails to take opportunities available for improving the character and quality of an area should not be accepted. The fact is that this is an average semi in an average street of no particular significance. How can anyone think that building upto the boundary on side of one semi, when the existing extension on the other side of the pair of semi's is 1 metre from the boundary, adversely affects the character and quality of the area to such an extent that it overrides the bedroom width being reduced from 12ft to 9ft!

Regarding your suggestion to write to the Planning Inspectorate, I am mindful of not wanting to get their position 'set in stone' in case I submit another application to the Council and I need to appeal again.

Someone else has suggested that I should speak to the LPA and discuss with them what they would consider acceptable in view of the Appeal Decision. I am afraid that their decision will be the same except that they will now put forward the Appeal Inspector's grounds for refusal, in place of their original grounds for refusal which were rejected by the Appeal Inspector and thereby still insist on the extension being 1 metre from the boundary.

It just seems so unfair, especially coming from the Appeal Inspector who dismisses the appeal on grounds which were not even on the agenda in the first place. As such the appellant is not even given any chance to argue his position or to submit evidence to rebutt the new issues introduced by the Inspector.

pdk
18-07-2006, 16:15 PM
I really do commiserate with you...

On reflection i think I would do two things - write the letter to PINS - this will not get caught up with any further application or appeal - and try and negotiate it with the planners... If they are kind enough they might let you re-apply..

If not, it seems that you might be stuck with setting in the scheme...

How about setting it in 1m at the front half only??

And maybe take on a planning consultant??

Regards, PETER

Tax Accountant
18-07-2006, 16:21 PM
Peter,

Thanks once again for your comments.

I will consider these carefully and decide how best to proceed.