Adding extra floors onto your property may now be a little harder because of a recent High Court ruling against recent challenges regarding the true interpretation of Schedule 2, Part 1, Class AA of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015. This followed decisions of inspectors to dismiss appeals against the refusal of prior approval under Class AA of Part 1.
The following was considered by Mr Justice Holgate
1. Whether a planning authority’s control of impact on amenity is limited to effects on properties contiguous with, or abutting, the subject property and are those effects limited to overlooking, privacy and loss of light?
2. Is a Local authority’s control of the external appearance of the subject dwelling limited to the ‘design and architectural features’ of its principal elevation and any side elevation fronting a highway, and is it further limited to the effects of those matters upon the subject dwelling itself?
In finding that considerations of external appearance are not limited to those specifically mentioned in the GPDO, the judge observed: ‘A proposal for an upwards extension of a building…is capable of having a significant impact on the amenity of neighbouring premises, which is not confined to overlooking, privacy or loss of light.’
He added: ‘I also reject the submissions that the “external appearance” control is confined to an assessment of the impact of that appearance on the subject property itself, as opposed to its surroundings. There is nothing in the language of the GPDO 2015 to justify this construction.’
The ruling opens the way for local authorities to take into account a wide range of factors concerning amenity and visual appearance when considering such applications.