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Appeal Decision 145 - Certificate of Lawful Development.

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October 2010 - Code a00145


Summary of Case (appeal dismissed): 


The property is a two-storey detached house, with the east elevation fronting Wykeham Road and the south elevation fronting Prothero Gardens (both highways used by vehicular traffic). The property has an existing single storey extension on the west elevation, and the application was for a proposed first floor extension above this existing extension. 


The key issue was whether the proposed first floor extension would be a rear extension or a side extension, which depends on whether the “principal elevation” is the elevation fronting Wykeham Road or the elevation fronting Prothero Gardens (respectively). 


The Inspector stated the following: 


“… Whether or not the development could constitute “permitted development” depends on whether the principal frontage to the dwellinghouse is, as the Council contend, the Prothero Gardens frontage or, as the appellant argues, the frontage on to Wykeham Road. If the appellant is right, the extension would be a rear extension but, if the Council’s decision was well-founded, it would be a side extension and not therefore capable of being permitted development. 


The appeal property is an attractive two storey house dating from around 1930, with a more recent extension above which the proposed development would take place. I appreciate that determining what is the principal elevation is not always straightforward but, looking first at the architectural argument, it seems to me that the photographs submitted by the local planning authority clearly suggest that the Prothero Gardens frontage is the principal frontage. This was an impression which my site inspection only served to reinforce for, as the plans indicate, and my site inspection confirmed, that frontage is far wider than that on to Wykeham Road and contains what might reasonably be termed “principal features”, including the front door and a bay window at ground and first floor level. 


Whilst the appellant’s agent pointed out that the Wykeham Road frontage, as well as providing vehicular access including to the garage, also gives access to a door to the house, this is down a path between the house and the boundary with No. 64 Wykeham Road and through a gate that then leads to a less prestigious entrance which I believe one would normally view as the back door. 


I have also considered the other functional and historic arguments made by the appellant. I note the fact that previous decisions on planning applications are consistent with the view that the Council accepted that the part of the property where the extension would take place was the rear of the site. However, the descriptions of the development then proposed may well have originated with the applications and the fact that the Council did not seek to have those applications (which were made in the different context to the current application) altered, should not in my view be seen as determinative of the question. 


I have also had regard to the argument that the property has a garden that is similar in its relationship to the house as are the back gardens to other properties in Wykeham Road, but that does not in itself make it a back garden. It is, I consider, just as easily viewed as a garden to the side of the property which, in the absence of a garden to the rear, fulfils that function. 


I have, of course, also borne in mind the postal address of the property but neither this, nor indeed any or all of the other matters raised, overcome the persuasive architectural argument that the front of the house faces Prothero Gardens and not Wykeham Road.” 


Main Conclusions: 


·       This appeal decision provides an example of the types of factors that should be taken into consideration when determining which elevation is “the principal elevation”.
[Relevant to: “Principal Elevation”, A.1(d), B.1(b), E.1(b), F.1, G.1(b)].

·       Where a property is on a corner and fronts two different highways, the “principal elevation” is not necessarily the elevation that fronts the highway corresponding to the postal address of the property.
[Relevant to: “Principal Elevation”, A.1(d), B.1(b), E.1(b), F.1, G.1(b)].


Links to the “Appeal Decision Notice” and other associated documents (e.g. drawings, etc): 


·       Appeal Decision Notice: 

·       Existing Drawings (note: the page showing proposed is superseded): 

·       Proposed Drawings: 






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