Special Circumstances Unproven For Green Belt Granny Annexe

Plans for a detached granny annexe in the grounds of a farmhouse in the Nottingham green belt have been refused on appeal as the appellant failed to explain how extant plans for an annexe within the main house would ‘disrupt his family life’.

The appeal concerned one of a number of large detached farmhouses in the green belt south of Nottingham. The appellant sought permission to build a residential annexe, detached from the main house, to provide care and accommodation for an elderly and disabled relative who needed 24-hour care.

The Inspector considered that the scheme would introduce buildings where there are none, intrinsically harming the openness of the green belt. Although he noted that the site was relatively well screened this would not completely remove its visual impact, and the scheme would amount to inappropriate green belt development.

The appellant argued that his relative’s care requirements amounted to the “very special circumstances” needed to permit inappropriate development in the green belt. However, the LPA had previously granted permission to convert part of the main farmhouse into a residential annexe – a permission that remained extant. Despite the appellant arguing that this would be “compromising and disruptive to family life”, the Inspector was not persuaded. The LPA considered the extant permission could be carried out in such a way as to provide privacy and independence and the appellant did not address these submissions, nor did he demonstrate why his relative had to live in close proximity to be cared for, what care was currently provided, why this was unsatisfactory or why it could not continue.

In the planning balance, the Inspector noted that personal circumstances rarely outweigh planning matters because the effects of development can remain long after personal circumstances no longer apply. He also noted the importance of protecting the openness of the green belt. Drawing these factors together, he dismissed the appeal.