Smart Planning has successfully won an Enforcement Appeal in Epping Forest, saving an extended dwelling from the threat of demolition within the Green Belt.

An Enforcement Notice was served on our client’s property in October 2018 alleging that a cottage had been demolished and a replacement dwelling had been built without planning permission.

Smart Planning were instructed to run an Enforcement Appeal against the notice, seeking to argue that what had actually been built were Permitted Development side and rear extensions to the existing cottage. A replacement roof had also been built during the construction which was halted by the Enforcement Notice.

After the exchange of written representations, a site visit was undertaken with the Planning Inspector in December 2019. The final decision was made by Inspector Sandra Prail on 20 January 2020, highlighting just how long the Enforcement Appeal process can be. The decision outlined whether the dwelling had been demolished and also whether Permitted Development Rights were still extant given the condition of the dwelling.

In making her decision, she states that “The Council do not argue that the building did not exist but say that because of its condition it was ‘largely demolished’“. She goes on to say that “In the absence of any statutory definition I have applied a common sense interpretation of ‘to demolish’ and taken into account the definition of ‘to completely destroy a building, especially in order to use the land for something else’ as set out in the Cambridge Dictionary.

I do not consider that because the building had fallen into disrepair and parts of it used to construct a larger dwelling that it was demolished. The photographs before me show that sufficient remained of the original cottage for it not to be considered as demolished.

As a matter of fact and degree on the evidence before me I conclude that the ‘demolition of a dwelling’ has not occurred as a matter of fact.” Consequently, the ground (b) appeal succeeded to that extent.

Furthermore, in respect of Permitted Development Rights the Inspector said “As a matter of fact there is no dispute that some parts of the original cottage have been incorporated into the new building. I saw at my site visit that some of its walls, foundations, floors and footprint remain“, adding “I conclude that there was sufficient structure for permitted development operations to be carried out“.

Much to the delight of the client, the appeal was allowed, granting planning permission for the extensions and quashing the Enforcement Notice in the process.

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Appeal Case Number: 3216548

21 January 2020