Holiday occupancy condition removed by Planning Inspector

Holiday occupancy condition removed by Planning Inspector

“We have come across an interesting appeal case recently where a Planning Inspector granted planning permission for the removal of a holiday occupancy condition attached to a planning permission for a barn conversion despite removing it being in conflict with the local plan”, says Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.

“In this case, the appellant had started work on a barn conversion that had been granted planning permission subject to a condition stating that the premises could be used only for holiday accommodation and for no other purpose, including any other residential purpose. The appellant sought the removal of the condition on appeal to allow permanent residential occupation. The local planning authority (LPA) defended the condition and argued it was necessary because the location of the building made it unsustainable for permanent residential use.

The Inspector acknowledged that the removal of the condition would conflict with the local plan, which limited new housing in the countryside to that which would be affordable, replaced existing dwellings, or related to the needs of rural workers. The Inspector, however, took the view that the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) explains that housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities and that, whether as holiday accommodation or as an unrestricted dwelling, the use of the building would have some social and economic benefits as its occupants would make use of local services and facilities. Although the proposal was not under Class Q permitted development rights (PDRs), the Inspector also reasoned that Class Q does not apply a test in relation to “sustainability of location” in the residential change of use of agricultural buildings. In addition, the Inspector judged that the wording of the condition compromised its enforceability because it contained no specific definition of holiday accommodation and, therefore, it would be challenging to establish where holiday use ends, and permanent occupation begins”, explains Dinnis.

“Each case will always turn on its own particular facts, and in this case the shortcomings concerning the precision and enforceability of the condition were judged by the Inspector to outweigh the conflict with the local plan and, taken together with the support given to the conversion of agricultural buildings in general terms under Class Q and the provisions in NPPF, justified granting planning permission for an unrestricted dwelling”, adds Dinnis.

For further advice on planning conditions, please contact Brian Dinnis at Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01278 772655 or at briandinnis@acornrpc.co.uk.

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