QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
33 Bull Street, Birmingham, B4 6DS
B e f o r e :
| Hibbitt and Another
|- and -
|Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1)
Rushcliffe Borough Council (2)
Mr Westmoreland-Smith (instructed by Government Legal Department) for the First Defendant
No Attendance for the Second Defendant
Hearing date: 25th October 2016
Crown Copyright ©
MR JUSTICE GREEN :
A. Introduction: The Issue
B. Relevant Legislation: "Permitted Developments" the conversion of agricultural buildings to dwelling houses
"Q. Development consisting of
(a) a change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from a use as an agricultural building to a use falling within Class C3 (dwelling houses) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order; and
(b) building operations reasonably necessary to convert the building referred to in paragraph (a) to a use falling within the Class C3 (dwelling houses) of that Schedule."
"Development is not permitted by Class Q if
(1)(i) the development under Class Q(b) would consist of building operations other than
(i) the installation or replacement of
(aa) windows, doors, roofs, or exterior walls, or
(bb) water, drainage, electricity, gas or other services,
to the extent reasonably necessary for the building to function as a dwelling house;
(2)(i) partial demolition to the extent reasonably necessary to carry out building operations allowed by paragraph Q.1(1)(i) "
"Building works are allowed under the change to residential use. The permitted development right under Class Q assumes that the agricultural building is capable of functioning as a dwelling. However, it recognises that for the building to function as a dwelling some building operations which would affect the external appearance of the building, which would otherwise require planning permission, should be permitted. The right allows for the installation or replacement of windows, doors, roofs, exterior walls, water, drainage, electricity, gas or other services to the extent reasonably necessary for the building to function as a dwelling house; and the partial demolition of the extent reasonably necessary to carry out these building operations. It is not the intention of the permitted development right to include the construction of new structural elements for the building. Therefore it is only where the existing building is structurally strong enough to take the loading which comes from the external works to provide for residential use that the building would be considered to have the permitted development right."
C. The Development
D. The Inspector's Decision
"The building in question is an open sided steel framed structure with a monopitch roof. It has a concrete floor slab and six steel uprights which span to support a corrugated fibre roof, supported on timber cross beams. It is open to two sides with a single skin steel panel to the rear and the long part of one further side. This sits above a concrete panel to around a metre in height. The concrete panel does not appear to be attached to the floor slab."
"The development right described in Part Q relates to conversion of a building. For that right to apply the building must first be capable of functioning as a dwelling. The Appellant's submission describes how the steel frame, roof and floor slab would be retained and how structural infill panels (SIPs) would be used to construct walls and a ceiling within the existing frame. Steel box profile cladding, some of which is currently in place and would be reused, would be used to clad the front and sides along with the insertion of windows and doors. No details are provided of works to the floor."
"10. Nevertheless, having regard to the extent of works necessary for the frame and fibre roof to function as a dwelling, a demonstration of the load bearing capacity of the frame alone is insufficient to meet the requirement of part Q in this case. Although I accept that substantial works could fall under the scope of class Q they nonetheless presuppose that the works comprise 'conversion'. In this case, the building before me would not be capable of functioning as a dwelling without the building works outlined above which include the construction of all four exterior walls. This goes well beyond what could reasonably described as conversion, and notwithstanding the re-use of the 6 steel uprights as the main structural element for the building and the retention of the fibre roof, the works described would be so extensive as to comprise rebuilding. I must therefore conclude that the works necessary to create a dwelling from the structure onsite would not fall within the scope of that permissible under part Q. Accordingly, they would not be permitted development under Class Q(b)."
E. Claimants' Submissions
"To promote sustainable development in rural areas, housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities. For example, where there are groups of smaller settlements, development in one village may support services in a village nearby. Local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside unless there are special circumstances such as:
● the essential need for a rural worker to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside; or
● where such development would represent the optimal viable use of a heritage asset or would be appropriate enabling development to secure the future of heritage assets; or
● where the development would re-use redundant or disused buildings and lead to an enhancement to the immediate setting; or
● the exceptional quality or innovative nature of the design of the dwelling. Such a design should:
be truly outstanding or innovative, helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas;
reflect the highest standards in architecture;
significantly enhance its immediate setting; and
be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area."