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Appeal Decision 199 - Certificate of Lawful Development.

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January 2011 - Code a00199


Summary of Case (appeal allowed): 


The property is a two-storey semi-detached house, on a corner where the road turns 90 degrees. The pair of semi-detached houses runs west-to-east, and the application site is the eastern one. The south elevation of the property fronts the road, and contains the main front door and two large windows. The east elevation of the property fronts the road, and contains three large windows and the back door. The main roof of the property is mono-pitched and faces towards the east. The application was for two proposed dormers, which would have been located on this east-facing mono-pitch roof. 


The key issue was whether the proposed dormers would be contrary to Class B, part B.1(b), which states that “development is not permitted by Class B if … any part of the dwellinghouse would, as a result of the works, extend beyond the plane of any existing roof slope which forms the principal elevation of the dwellinghouse and fronts a highway”. 


The Inspector stated the following: 


“The nub of the dispute between the parties is which elevation of the dwelling should be considered the principal elevation. The appellant asserts that it is the south facing elevation whilst the Council contends it is the east facing elevation. 


The Technical Guidance indicates that the principal elevation will usually contain the main architectural features such as a porch serving the main entrance to the house and usually it will be what is understood to be the front of the house. 


At my site visit I noted that the appeal building had a broadly symmetrical appearance with the adjoining semi-detached dwelling when viewed from the east-west section of [the road]. The south facing elevations of both dwellings contained a front door which in the case of the appeal dwelling was emphasised by a small porch. 


Whilst I do not regard the east-west section of [the road] as having any greater status than the north-south section it is slightly wider and, in consequence, allows the south facing elevation of the appeal property to have a more prominent visual impact in the wider street scene than the eastern elevation. I accept that the eastern elevation is longer and contains a number of windows and a door leading to the kitchen. However, the lower part of that elevation of the building is largely screened at present by a fence which reduces its visual impact. 


I accept that it is possible that the fence could be removed at a future date which would increase the visual impact of the side elevation in the street scene. In addition, the Council has pointed out that as part of the proposed works the front door would at some future time be moved to the side and there would then be no door in the south elevation. However, this was not the case at the time of my visit and it does not alter my conclusion as to what is the principal elevation of the dwelling. My decision is with regard to the situation at the time of the application and not what might occur in the future. 


Taking all the above factors into account I find that as a matter of fact and degree the south facing elevation of the appeal dwelling is the “principal elevation” of the dwellinghouse in the terms of the GPDO. In consequence of that finding it follows that the proposed dormers to the side roof plane would not extend beyond the plane of the existing roof slope which forms the principal elevation of the dwellinghouse and which fronts a highway.” 


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)].


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


·       Appeal Decision Notice: 

·       OS Map: 

·       Existing Drawings: 

·       Proposed Drawings: 




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