19/10/21 – Taking account of the wider area when building upwards

In an appeal decision published this week, an Inspector has deemed the wider character of the area to be an appropriate consideration when assessing a Prior Approval application for the construction of an additional storey on an existing residential property.

Under Condition 3 of the legislation, it is necessary to apply to the Local Planning Authority as to the proposed external appearance of the dwellinghouse, including the design and architectural features.  In other cases, this assessment has been treated very narrowly by Inspectors to mean the design and appearance of the existing building in isolation.

However, in this new appeal decision, the Inspector considered the prevailing character of the streetscape was relevant to the overall design assessment.  While the Inspector opined that this was matter of planning judgement, they determined the additional storey would not relate acceptably to the surrounding built environment (which comprised a two-storey housing estate), and this formed part of their decision that the proposed design of the building would be unacceptable.

This decision is potentially very important to the future assessment of similar Prior Approval applications.  If the wider character of the area does form a relevant consideration, it could have big implications going forward where properties are located in areas where building heights and design are uniform.

For advice and assistance on the construction of additional storeys via the Prior Approval process, please contact Andrew Boothby on 01442 291798 or via email at andrew.boothby@argroup.co.uk.