Lawful Development Certificate not concerned with planning merits or local opinions. size and proportion of development irrelevant to whether use is incidental.
An appeal was successfully submitted that overturned a refusal from East Hertfordshire District Council to allow development within a householders curtilage under permitted development rights. REF: APP/J1915/X/16/3145218.
The applicant sought to erect a building as ancillary space to the main house to incorporate sitting rooms, gym and storage area. The council refused the certificate of lawfulness on the basis that it did not consider the proposed building to qualify as being incidental to the main dwelling due to the large size and scale of the proposed building. The inspector not only stated that the proposal was commensurate with the dwelling but also gave a helpful reminder for Local Authorities on the limitations of refusing such schemes on such grounds. He states:
"2. A Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) application is not an application for planning permission. Its purpose is to enable owners and others to ascertain whether specific operations or activities would be lawful. In this case, the dispute between the Council and the appellant is whether the proposed building would constitute ‘permitted development’ by virtue of the rights conveyed by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 (the GPDO).
3. Therefore, for the avoidance of doubt, I make clear that the planning merits of the proposed outbuilding are not relevant in this appeal. In that regard, I note that a number of issues have been raised in correspondence from interested local residents. Those matters include alleged ‘over-development’ of the site, effect on the Green Belt, impact on flooding and sewerage in the local area, the potential for noise disturbance, effect on trees, and the effect on neighbouring privacy. Whilst I note those concerns, they are not matters that can influence the determination of this appeal which is solely dependent on whether the proposed development would be lawful, having regard to the extant legislation governing this type of development – the GPDO."
This is also a useful reminder that such applications should not really be sent to neighbours to consider in any case.