Case Law enables countryside development

Due to recent legislation changes, a site between two properties and within a countryside location, can now be developed on.

Previously, proposed developments within the countryside were deemed by local authorities as too ‘isolated’ and as such a site within Ellen’s Green in the Borough of Waverley was unable to be granted planning permission. However, a High Court Judgement in November 2017 supported a challenge brought by Braintree District Council against the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The Council challenged the favourable decision of a planning inspector who determined that a proposal for new housing in the countryside would not result in new “isolated homes” because “there are a number of dwellings nearby” and as such the permission should be granted in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework’s (NPPF) presumption in favour of sustainable development. The judgement concluded that a home that is “isolated from services and facilities” is not, therefore, necessarily an “isolated home”.

As part of this application to build a detached two-storey house with a detached garage within Ellen’s Green, ET Planning referenced this case and also a judgement which was issued in March 2018 by the Court of Appeal. In this case, the Court of Appeal found that: ” …. it is neither necessary nor appropriate to gloss the word “isolated” by reading an additional phrase into Paragraph 79 whose effect would be to make the policy more onerous than the plain meaning of the words it actually contains. No such restriction is apparent in the policy, or, … , implicit in it.”

By demonstrating that this proposed property would not result in an isolated dwelling within the countryside, and that the plans did not conflict with Paragraph 79 of the NPPF, ET Planning was able to secure permission to build on this site as an infill development.

As part of the planning application, ET Planning also referenced that this site was appropriate for redevelopment as it had been previously developed on. The land had originally been used as the residential kitchen garden to a neighbouring listed building. Although the land has since been separated and sold, it still contained buildings from the previous use, and as such, constituted previously developed land.

As the development provided an opportunity to significantly enhance the character and appearance of the area in accordance with the NPPF, Waverley Borough Council agreed the plans under delegated powers.