This low impact dwelling in Buckinghamshire was granted on appeal in November 2009.

A developer bought the site and commenced work in 2016.  However some amendments were made to the design during the construction and the Planning Authority requested a retrospective application which was refused.  An Enforcement Notice was then issued to demolish the building.  Both the refusal of planning permission and the Enforcement Notice were appealed. These are referred to in the Appeal Decision as Appeal A and Appeal B.

The Inspector concluded that although the detailed design characteristics of the dwelling may not be outstanding, the earth sheltered dwelling is innovative. Furthermore, once completed, the dwelling will achieve high levels of sustainability, and its overall form and layout fits in with the site’s hillside location and woodland surroundings. These considerations weighed in favour of the scheme.

Moreover, the Inspector was satisfied that completion of the dwelling provided an opportunity to secure new planting and create new habitats with resultant net gains in biodiversity. In addition, it would enable the existing surface water issues relating to the site to be resolved. When weighed against the environmental impact of demolishing a carbon neutral home, the amount of energy that would be involved in that process and the harmful effect the demolition process would have on the living conditions of neighbouring residents through disturbance from vehicle movements, these considerations had significant weight in the planning balance.

The Enforcement Appeals all failed. However, Section 180 (1) of the Town and Country Planning Act provides that: “Where, after service of an enforcement notice, planning permission is granted for any development carried out before the grant of that permission, the notice shall cease to have effect so as far as inconsistent with that permission.” The developer is therefore able to rely on the provisions of Section 180 (1) provided they adhere to the conditional planning permission which has been granted under Appeal A.

A copy of the planning appeal decision can be obtained here.

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