13:07 December 3, 2021

A woman has won her case against East Cambridgeshire District Council’s refusal to allow her to build a two-story gym and annex.

The Planning Inspectorate told Alison Hayes her appeal was successful.

She can now move forward with the Annex at Otterbush Farm, The Hythe, Little Downham.

East Cambs planners felt the annex “equates to the creation of a new home or a separate planning unit.”

“This is not considered incidental and could result in a subdivision of the main house.

“Therefore, the proposed building could be used as a separate dwelling house by current or future occupants.”

However, the planning inspector noted that Ms Hayes had made a unilateral commitment to council confirming that the annex would continue to be part of the main house.

He said the commitment would ensure that the use of the annex would not be sold or rented separately.

The inspector said the main question was whether or not the proposal would constitute the creation of a separate residential unit.

And if so, if it would be against local and national policy regarding new housing in the countryside.

The case law as to whether this is a separate and independent occupation unit “will be a question of fact and degree in each particular case.

“Even if a parent’s accommodation provides facilities for independent daily living, it would not necessarily become a separate planning unit from the main house. ”

He said each case must therefore be determined on its own merits.

“In this case, the annex would not depend on the main dwelling for meals or living facilities and it would be able to function independently of it,” he said.

“However, the annex would be located at the end of the driveway between the stone wall and the LPG tanks located at the side of one of the garages.”

He was not convinced that the location would “necessarily encourage use” as a separate home.

“I have no doubts that there would be a working relationship between Otterbush Farm and the Annex,” he said.

He acknowledged council’s concern that the building could be used as separate accommodation “but that’s not the proposal before me”.

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