An Inspector has quashed an enforcement notice after finding it complied with permitted development regulations.

New Forest National Park Authority served the enforcement notice on a home in Burnley a village situated in the New Forest. The enforcement notice was issued against single storey conservatory built within the curtilage of the dwelling as they said it was an unauthorised addition to the main house.

The main argument between the appellant and Local Planning Authority (LPA) was whether the structure was free-standing or attached to the main house. The appellant argued the structure was a ‘Garden Room’ and therefore should be allowed under Class E of the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO). Initially when the enforcement notice was served there was only a finger width gap between the ‘Garden Room’ and the main dwelling but by the time the appeal site visit took place the brick dwarf walls between the structure and the main house had been removed, leaving a gap of 29cm.

The GPDO makes a clear distinction between extensions and free standing buildings, it does not indicate a minimum distance that the structures must be positioned away from the dwelling. Although “a casual observer might perceive the garden room as an extension”, the Inspector concluded, “this does not outweigh the fact that the structure is not physically ‘attached’ to the house”.

The Inspector, Jarratt concluded in the appeal decision ‘It appears that the appellants have gone to great lengths to contrive a form of development that might otherwise have been resisted under the Authority’s planning policies limiting the size of extensions. Whilst the Parish Council and the Authority may question the interpretation of the GPDO, the GPDO has been relaxed in recent years to enable householders to undertake a greater range of development without the need for express permission. On the basis of the evidence before me therefore I conclude on the balance of probability that the garden room as originally erected, represented a Class E building within the curtilage of the appeal property, which is permitted development under Class E of the GPDO.

Both the Appellant and the LPA submitted and application for an award of costs and the Inspector concluded ‘Had the Authority accepted what the GPDO and the Technical Guidance actually says in respect to attachment to a building, rather than apply their own

interpretation to it, then the appeals could have been avoided.’ An award of costs was allowed to the appellant due the LPA acting unreasonably through the application process incurring unnecessary and wasted expense for the appellant in the appeal process.

Appeal reference APP/B9506/C/17/3187537

07 January 2019