Our application for the conversion of a disused cattle shed to one dwellinghouse via permitted developement was approved yesterday despite a wealth of opposition from local residents.
The application concerned the conversion of an old agricultural building (above) on Limby Hall Lane, Swannington to a two-storey home comprising 403 sq. m. of floorspace. The maximum cumulative floorspace permitted under Class Q of the General Permitted Development Order for large dwellinghouses - of which there can be a maximum of 3 - is 465 sq. m.
The application was validated by North West Leicestershire on 10th February with an initial determination date of 6th April. During the 56-day determination period, the council received a complaint from a local resident that the site notice, which is required to be displayed for any application for 21 days, was not prominent enough prompting a request for an extension to 29th April. During this time a further four objections were received.
During the course of the application, neighbours suggested that the building was used for equestrian purposes had not been used for cattle/agricultural purposes. There were contradictory comments from neighbours with one stating that the building had been used to store potatoes. We were contacted by the local authority in relation to the equestrian use and confirmed that horses had been kept sporadically for the purpose of grazing the adjacent land, constituting agricultural use. In the absence of objective evidence from neighbours which demonstrates that an alternative use had occurred, it was not considered that it could be concluded that the the site was not in agricultural use on the relevant date and therefore, the proposal could be considered under the prior notification procedure.
Concern was also raised by local residents about the location of the site being outside the limits to development and the availability of brownfield sites elsewhere, as well as concerns about the impact the development will have on the open and undeveloped character of the lane. As this was not a full planning application, the acceptability of the development in principle was not up for consideration. The building already exists on the site and the suitability of the proposed conversion scheme on the character of the existing building was considered above and found to be acceptable.
With regard to comments about the proposal setting a precedent for further similar development, this application was only acceptable in this location due to the presence of an existing agricultural building and the provisions under Class Q of the GDPO which allow its conversion to residential use.
The submission was objectively assessed against the criteria set out under Part 3 Class Q (a and b) of the General Permitted Development (England) Order 2015 and was found to comply with all of them. Accordingly, it was therefore recommended that prior approval be granted.
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