Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Man loses appeal over plan to make outbuilding a home

Man loses appeal over plan to make outbuilding a home

PLANS to turn an outbuilding into a home have been refused by a Government inspector.

Neil Gething appealed the decision made by Wokingham Borough Council in September to convert the ancillary unit at Owl End, a property in Willow Lane, Wargrave.

It would have had three bedrooms instead of the one bedroom currently and there would have been changes to the windows.

Wargrave Parish Council had recommended refusal of the application, saying it would result in intensification of the site. The borough council said the development would result in “significant harm” to the openness of the green belt and that it was an isolated and unsuitable location.

In his appeal, Mr Gething said the building was used by his son and the change of use would not materially alter its appearance other than the creation of a gravel driveway.

It was unclear how the use of the building as an independent dwelling would result in material harm to the green belt.

Mr Gething said: “The case officer has failed to recognise or make reference to the fact that the outbuilding in question already incorporates an en-suite bedroom and living room. Therefore, it is already in ancillary residential occupancy and this has not been taken into account.

“The apportioning of harm to the development, as cited by the case officer, appears to be completely unfounded.

“They have failed to highlight the benefits of providing a new independent dwelling and the sustainability benefits this offers.”

Planning inspector Adrian Hunter said he accepted the overall harm to the green belt would be “limited” but the conversion would be inappropriate. He said: “Due to the provision of additional hardstanding and the increase in the residential curtilage, the proposal would fail to preserve the openness of the green belt and would result in the encroachment of development into the countryside.

“Very special circumstances will not exist unless the harm to the green belt and any other harm is clearly outweighed by other considerations.

“The proposal would deliver a positive benefit in the form of a new dwelling.

“This weighs in favour of the proposal, although given the small-scale nature of the contribution, this carries limited weight.”

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