Appeal Decision 170 - Certificate of Lawful
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December 2010 -
Summary of Case (appeal
The property is a two-storey
mid-terrace house. The property has an original two-storey rear
projection, to the rear of which appears to be a narrower original single storey rear projection. The application was for an extension within the side infill area, which would
have had length 3.9m matching the length of the original two-storey rear projection.
The key issue was whether the
proposals would be contrary to Class A, part A.1(e), which states that “development is not permitted by Class A
if … the enlarged part of the dwellinghouse would … extend beyond the rear wall of the original dwellinghouse by
more than … 3 metres”.
The Inspector stated the
“This limitation [A.1(e)]
was introduced into the GPDO by means of amendments which came into force on 1 October 2008. These were drafted
in such a way that some of their provisions have been prone to conflicting interpretations. Indeed, the
Appellants have drawn my attention to two appeal decisions in which Inspectors applied paragraph A.1(e)(i) in
different ways. The point of confusion centres on what is meant by the term ‘the rear wall of the original
dwellinghouse’ in circumstances where, as in this case and those cited by the Appellants, the rear building line
is staggered such that the rear elevation comprises two or more different vertical planes.
In his decision on appeal
ref no [July 2009 - Code
a00011], the Inspector concluded that, by reason of the stagger, the original dwellinghouse in fact
had three rear walls and that a projection beyond any of these of more than three metres would exceed the
permitted development tolerance. However, in determining appeal ref no [December 2009 - Code
a00055], another Inspector found in relation to a similar proposal that there could only be one rear
wall and that this was, effectively, the rearmost part of the staggered rear elevation. The Appellants favour
the latter interpretation.
Clearly, I am in a
position to agree with one or other of my colleagues, but not both. I will therefore start from first principles
in applying the legislation. The wording of the GPDO infers, through use of the word ‘the’, that a dwellinghouse
has only one rear wall for the purposes of the Order. However, where the rear building line is staggered, the
rear elevation will clearly comprise more than one vertical plane. The terms ‘rearmost’ or ‘furthest back’ do
not appear in the relevant part of the legislation. Consequently, there is no sound basis for deciding that one
plane rather than another constitutes ‘the rear wall’.
This being so, it follows
that the whole of the rear elevation, in all its separate plains, must logically be regarded as ‘the rear wall’
if the GPDO is to be applied in a practical way, and that the limiting measurement must be taken from the part
of the rear wall being extended from. In this case, the proposed extension would extend more than three metres
from the most deeply recessed section of the rear wall and therefore, despite not projecting beyond the rearmost
part of the dwellinghouse, would not have constituted permitted development on the relevant
I note that my
interpretation of paragraph A.1(e)(i) accords with that given on page 17 of the document Permitted development
for householders – Technical guidance, issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in
August 2010 and referred to by the Council. The Appellants contend that the Council has applied this advice
retrospectively, as the relevant time precedes its publication. However, this is merely guidance, as opposed to
a further amendment to legislation. Moreover, the DCLG had issued an earlier version of it, well before the LDC
application was made, which put forward a similar view. In any event, I find this interpretation to be sensible
Where a property has a
(part-width) original rear projection, then there will be more than one wall that constitutes “the rear wall
of the original dwellinghouse” for the purposes of Class A, part A.1(e). This means that where the original rear elevation of a property is stepped,
the 3m/4m rear projection limit will be similarly stepped.
[Note: This would appear to contradict
at least one other appeal decision – for further information see the entry in the “Reference Section” on “The
rear wall of the original dwellinghouse”].
[Relevant to: “The rear wall of the original
dwellinghouse”, A.1(e), A.1(f), A.2(c)].
Links to the “Appeal Decision
Notice” and other associated documents (e.g. drawings, etc):
· Appeal Decision
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