Epping Forest Council v Mr & Mrs Craft Enforcement Notice breach of s.171A(a) of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990
Planning appeal upheld, enforcement quashed in metropolitan greenbelt area
Mr & Mrs Craft (the appellants) live within the Metropolitan green belt area and following a catastrophic fire at their house which required complete demolition, undertook to construct a new house albeit to a smaller footprint and smaller ridge height, but in an altogether different style, comprising a commercial steel frame lightweight powder coated profiled roof and external finishes incorporating a heavy timber cladding material. A retrospective planning application was field but rejected.
They did not obtain planning permission for the new house, wrongly assuming they were entitled to rebuild because it was smaller in scale (some 50%) than the original house that was destroyed in the fire. Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) issued an enforcement notice alleging a breach of s.171A(a) of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (APP/J1535/C/16/3153786 and APP/J1535/C/16/3155445).
EFDC council were seeking to have the house demolished and to be rebuilt to the existing footprint and form and finishes as they considered the current structure was detrimental to the Metropolitan green belt area, and that the materials were inappropriate to its location and the green belt policies.
EFDC alleged that the proposed structure was also contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) as adopted since March 2012 and in particular referred to paragraphs 214 “that due weight should be given to the relevant policies and existing plans according to their degree of consistency within the framework”.
The appellants took legal advice from Mr Charles Newman of Messrs Edwards Duthie solicitors who referred them to Philip Antino. Mr Antino immediately filed grounds of appeal with the planning inspectorate, setting the extraordinary grounds of why the house should be allowed to remain and that the enforcement was in fact a frivolous act. The planning inspectorate issued their decision upholding both Appel A and B, the enforcement notice was quashed and planning permission was granted in the terms set out in the formal decision.
The appellants were able to keep their house as constructed and finished.