Prior Approval was refused by Brentwood Borough Council for the change of use from an agricultural building to a residential dwelling.

The Council contended that not enough information was provided to enable the authority to establish whether the building has been used for an agricultural trade or business and therefore represents an “agricultural building” as defined by Class X of the 2015 GPDO.

However, the Council did not provide an indication of an alternative use for the building than as an agricultural building and in a report on a retrospective application for a new roof for the building referred to it as an agricultural barn used for storage related to the working of the land at the farm.

The Council also contended that the creation of windows and alterations to provide further windows would be significant and beyond the extent of building operations ‘reasonably necessary’ to convert the building into a dwelling. Reference is made to a consultation from the building control section that the single storey building is not suitable for use as dwelling without extensive remedial works, possibly full demolition.

However, the Council also did not provide any additional information in relation to the structural integrity of the building but only commented that the walls are thin and that cavity walls would need to be constructed to bring the building into an energy efficient dwelling which would reduce the living area further.

Smart Planning were instructed following the conclusion of the refused prior approval process to lodge an appeal against Brentwood Borough Council’s decision.

Given that the building has been used as an agricultural building in connection with an agricultural trade, coupled with the rebuilding work would not go beyond what is reasonably necessary for the building to a function as a dwellinghouse, Smart Planning successfully provided evidence showing that the building has been used as an agricultural building in connection with an agricultural trade. Accordingly, the Planning Inspector stated that the requirements of paragraph Q.1. (a) in relation to agricultural use are satisfied. Smart Planning also successfully argued that the existing building is suitable for conversion to residential use in accordance with the requirements of Q.1. (i). The appointed Planning Inspector agreed wholly with Smart Planning’s case.

For that reason the appeal was allowed by the Planning Inspectorate and planning permission was granted, on Thursday 29 March 2018.