In the national news this week, there was an interesting appeal decision pertaining to a refused application based on Covid-19 safety fears.
A householder in Bournemouth appealed to the Planning Inspectorate against the Local Planning Authority’s decision to refuse permission for a six foot high fence at his property, having included within his description of development an explanation of why he wished to erect the fence.
He stated: “Following the Coronavirus lockdown… it flagged up a need for an enclosed family garden.”
Naturally, he wished to create a safe and secure space for his family and young children and “in addition, provide a barrier between the garden area and pedestrians walking past who may cough and expel droplets into the air.”
The appointed Inspector for this case considered that the fence would be a “highly intrusive” feature within the street scene, and would restrict views of the host property from the street, resulting in a “fortress effect“.
She acknowledged that the appellant was seeking to make his garden more secure and private and to provide safe outdoor play space. It seemed to her, however, that there might be alternative ways of achieving this that were less harmful to the character of the area. Consequently, the appeal was dismissed.
It is perhaps unsurprising that householders wish to make alterations to their properties during the pandemic, especially if said alterations make occupiers feel more secure and safe. Nonetheless, any development must stand the test of time and be appropriate for the duration of its lifetime, not just for the period of the pandemic which appears to be reaching its conclusion.
19 March 2021