PLANNING – BUILDING EXTENSIONS
BUILDING EXTENSIONS : PLANNING CONTROL : PLANNING PERMISSION : RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY : CONSTRUCTION OF DORMER WINDOW BALCONIES : APPROPRIATENESS OF DEVELOPMENTS
A planning inspector was entitled to find that the construction of a balcony to a dormer window of a residential property was inappropriate development and his decision was not irrational.
The applicant (S) applied to quash a decision of the respondent secretary of state, by her planning inspector, dismissing S’s appeal against a refusal of planning permission by a local authority for the construction of a balcony to a dormer window at the rear of S’s property. The local authority had refused planning permission on the basis that the proposed balcony would be incompatible with the design of the row of traditional terraced houses in which S’s property was located, and amounted to incongruous development that was contrary to planning policy. The planning inspector also held that the proposed balcony would not be compatible with the style of the terraced row, would be incongruous and would harm the character and appearance of the local area so that it conflicted with various planning policies contained in the local authority’s unitary development plan. In reaching his decision, the planning inspector noted that he shared S’s view that various dormer window extensions introduced to the rear of several of the properties in the terraced row were not particularly in keeping with the original scale or form of the properties. The planning inspector further held that the height of the balcony and the degree of overlooking that would be possible from it would infringe the privacy of S’s neighbours. S contended that the planning inspector’s decision was irrational as, considering the various dormer window extensions in the terraced row, it was inconsistent with a discernable policy by the local authority to permit development which was incongruous in scale or form of the terraced row.
HELD: It could not be said that the decision of the planning inspector was irrational. He had noted that there was previous development, consisting of extensions to dormer windows, that was not particularly in keeping with the scale or form of the terraced row. However, what S sought was the addition of a balcony to a dormer window; that addition went beyond the development that had previously been permitted in the terraced row and formed a distinct development that, in planning terms, created a harm that went beyond that already inflicted. The decision taken by the planning inspector in regard to the appropriateness of that development was a planning decision, and the court was not concerned with its merits. Further, the decision that the balcony would infringe the privacy of S’s neighbours could not be impugned.
SMITH v SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMUNITIES & LOCAL GOVERNMENT (2009)