Planning Update : Appeal decision APP/X1545/X/22/3313618
Outbuilding occupied by family members considered a separate dwelling
Appellants have been successful in obtaining a certificate of lawful use in a recent appeal against a previous refusal of their application. The Applicants had applied for a lawful development certificate to use a workshop at their property as a separate independent dwelling.
As part of their application, the Applicants provided statutory declarations which confirmed the workshop had been converted into an independent dwelling with its own address and vehicular access in 2011. The workshop had separate utilities and services, tv and internet connections and waste bins. Despite this, and whilst the Council had accepted that the workshop was completed more than 4 years before the application, it refused the application on the basis that the family members occupying it meant that it was used as an annex to the main dwelling and not its own independent dwelling.
The Applicants lodged an appeal to challenge the decision which has been successful. The inspector took into account the layout of the site, the separate access and that the workshop itself had all the necessary facilities to live separately as well as being physically separate from the main dwelling given the garden space. Those occupying could live independently without reliance on the main dwelling.
The Council had not produced any evidence which contradicted that the building was being used independently or that it had been or was currently being used as an annex and so the inspector was satisfied that the evidence provided, on the balance of probabilities, demonstrated that the workshop was being used independently and further by demonstrating the separate utility bills and payment of council tax over the requisite period.
This is a key case in such applications. Unless there is a very clear and unambiguous use of a building being entirely separate from the main dwelling (as with this appeal), it is usual for such buildings within the grounds of a main dwellinghouse to be defined as an annex. There must be an established, clear physical degree of separation for such an application to be considered otherwise. Simply demonstrating the use over the requisite period would not be sufficient on its own.
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