Winchester City Council acting for South Downs National Park Authority: Pure Town Planning have just won a householder appeal in the South Downs National Park within the Winchester City Council area. The Council handle most planning applications – and appeals – on behalf of the National Park Authority.

The appeal centred on one of the classic issues arising in the countryside – that of extending small dwellings. Many Councils have planning policies which provide some limitation on how much dwellings in the countryside can be extended – particularly small dwellings in order to protect the stock of small (in theory more affordable) rural dwellings. Winchester City Council have an old saved planning policy CE.23 which applies to small dwellings in the countryside outside of settlement boundaries. For the time being, because the National Park Authority has yet to adopt planning policies of its own, the policy also applies to the National Park area. The policy was poorly drafted and so not very clear and has been challenged several times on appeal. Some Inspectors have said the policy is flawed, not up to date and cannot be given any weight – we won an appeal on these grounds in the National Park in 2014 (see our post here). However at least one other Inspector has disagreed and the Council planning officers continue to apply the policy to the best of their interpretation.

On this appeal we argued that, as previous Inspectors have found, the policy is not up to date and should not be given any weight. However we also argued that the proposal would not conflict with the policy in any case because the existing dwelling had three bedrooms (the policy mentions one and two bed dwellings) and its particular circumstances meant its value would be the equivalent of a much larger property. The Inspector side-stepped the first argument (the weight to be given to the policy) but agreed with us on the second. As no conflict with the policy was found the Inspector granted full planning permission for the proposal.

If you have recently had a proposal refused then why not speak to Pure Town Planning and find out if we think you have a chance on appeal. The national success rate for all planning appeals runs about 40% which means that, when challenged, 2 in every 5 Council planning refusals are found to be wrong.