A successful appeal by Cheffins’ Planning team has seen planning permission granted for the conversion of a former kennel building to a dwelling.

South Cambridgeshire District Council had initially refused the planning application as they did not feel a wide-enough range of commercial uses for the building had not been considered and tested in line with the relevant Local Plan policy.

Cheffins felt that this approach was disproportionate given there were two commercial appraisals of the buildings by a qualified valuer/surveyor which deemed commercial use unviable due to the historic nature of the buildings and its isolated location in the countryside.

The Inspector supported Cheffins’ view that the broad assessment of the buildings submitted was sufficient in these circumstances for planning permission to be granted.

He concurred with Cheffins’ conclusions that the limited size, scale and age of the building meant that it had little potential for employment uses both in terms of an investment opportunity or its physical capacity to accommodate such uses.

The Inspector commented: “The conversion of the buildings would bring about an enhancement to their immediate setting by bringing the building back into use, and the design is suitably sympathetic to the existing building. The removal of later unsympathetic corrugated extensions further supports the enhancement of the setting.”

Ben Pridgeon, associate at Cheffins in the Planning department, said: “The appeal provides a useful view on what weight should be applied to conflicting policies and guidance.

“While the broad locational policies of the Local Plan favour development in sustainable locations – usually in or near towns or villages in the district – the Inspector was clear that significant weight should be given to paragraph 79 of the National Planning Policy Framework. This paragraph confirms that conversion of redundant or disused buildings in isolated locations is appropriate where they enhance its immediate setting.

“National planning policy favours the conversion of redundant agricultural buildings in the countryside and the appeal decision enforces this approach. “

While every case is different, applicants should not be put off by the fact that a subject building may be in an isolated location. If a building is capable of conversion to a dwelling and meets the relevant criteria in the Local Plan, there is no overriding reason why such a development should not be approved.