“Unlike sub-division of dwellings to create two or more separate dwellings out of a single dwelling, for which planning permission is required, the Town and Country Planning Act is silent as to whether planning permission is required to amalgamate two or more dwellings to create a single dwelling. The starting position is therefore that planning permission is not required”, says Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.
Dinnis continues, “we have recently been working on a scheme that involves the replacement of two existing semi-detached cottages with a single larger dwelling. The Local Planning Authority (LPA) is concerned about the loss of two smaller dwellings and the creation of a larger dwelling when the LPA’s policy is that all new dwellings should be below a specified floor area. However, as the new dwelling will replace the two existing dwellings, what is relevant is whether or not planning permission would be needed to amalgamate the existing dwellings to form a single larger dwelling as, if it is not, the applicant would have that as a fall-back position in that they could carry out the amalgamation and then apply for planning consent to replace what would then be a larger single dwelling with a new dwelling of the same size”.
Given that the internal works that are necessary to carry out an amalgamation do not require planning permission, the question is whether an amalgamation would be a material change of use for which planning permission would be required. “As ever with planning matters, each case has to be considered on its own merits but the position that has been established by planning appeals and by the courts is that if there is a planning purpose for preventing the amalgamation, for example where the LPA can demonstrate that there is a housing need for the dwellings as they are currently configured and that their loss will have an adverse impact on the LPA’s ability to meet its housing targets, then the amalgamation can be treated as a material change of use for which planning permission is required”, explains Dinnis.
For further information on any rural planning matters please contact Brian Dinnis on 01884 214052 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.