Turns out there is a functional need to live on site if you own a fishing lake – who knew?!

Paragraph 79 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states

“Planning policies and decisions should avoid the development of isolated homes in the countryside unless one or more of the following circumstances apply

  1. There is a need for a rural worker, including those taking majority control of a farm business, to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside…”

It is not unusual for a Local Authority Planning Officer to refer to this paragraph when turning down Planning Applications for residential development in the countryside.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Appeals team at Planning Direct often use this paragraph when justifying rural development. In fact, several Appeals have been won by the team at Planning Direct on this basis, predominantly for residential development on equestrian sites. This year however, the same argument was applied by Nikki, Planning Appeals expert at Planning Direct, not for an equestrian site, but for a fishing lake.

This particular fishing lake had been used as commercial fishery since 2010. The site is made up of a 0.6 hectare fishing lake, car park and timber facilities building. Following the approval of a planning application for development in 2013 ,the timber structure was extended to provide self-contained accommodation for use as a holiday let.

When this client approached Planning Direct back in February 2019 they had just been refused permission to convert the holiday let into their family home. In planning terms the permanent unrestricted residential occupancy of an existing holiday let requires a Change of Use application.

In seeking to covert a holiday let into a permanent home, like with so many other planning matters, consideration must be given to Local and National Policy. Instructing a Planning Consultant is often the best way to ensure you provide sufficient evidence in order to obtain the result you need. In this incidence, Nikki of Planning Direct was able to satisfy the Planning Inspector that this scheme was supported by a number of significant local and national policies.

Nikki referenced relevant local policy in her supporting statement, arguing that there was clear support for the development, specifically that

  • There was an essential functional need for permanent on-site residency by a member of staff
  • The conversion would make use of an available and suitable dwelling already contained within the site.
  • It would result in a clear reduction in the number of vehicle movements associated with the day-to-day running of the business.

At a national level, Nikki argued that the development was supported as follows

  • Policies concerned with strengthening the economy, particularly the rural economy
  • Policies concerned with protecting and enhancing valuable community facilities, especially those which provide clear health and wellbeing advantages.
  • The absence of a five-year housing land supply. The “tilted balance” argument (as per paragraph 11.d. of the NPPF). That in weighing the balance, it was not considered that the limited harm of the scheme would come close to “significantly and demonstrably” outweighing its substantial social and economic benefits.
  • This development would also make use of an exceptionally well-located (for its required purposes) existing dwelling without removing any dwelling from the available local housing stock.

When you Appeal a planning decision you must ensure you address local and national policy in order to secure a successful outcome. An expert planning consultant, such as one of the Appeals team at Planning Direct will happily advise you on the best way forward.

Here’s what this happy client had to say about the service he received from Nikki at Planning Direct

“The service I received with Nikki was amazing. She was very professional. I’m very happy with the way she handled things and the end result. I was informed every single step of the way through my case, nothing was ever not told to me, I was always kept up to date with everything”.

Contact Planning Direct today for free no obligation advice on 01473 407911 or email enquiries@plannigndirect.co.uk.

Back to top