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Isolated homes – a change in approach?

isolated home

 A Court of Appeal judge has made a very interesting observation about isolated homes that flies in the face of many decisions in the last few years.

Isolated Homes

When the NPPF was introduced in 2012 there were a flurry of cases involving the definition of an “isolated home”. The NPPF made clear that “isolated homes” were to be resisted, but many argued that if a new home was next door to an existing property then it was not isolated.

Unfortunately, the Courts quickly came to the conclusion that “isolation” in this sense was isolation from services. This position is now commonly accepted by planning practitioners.

Has the debate been reignited?

However, the recent case of Dartford Borough Council v The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & Ors [2017] EWCA Civ 141 (14 March 2017seems to have potentially reignited the debate:

“Paragraph 55 states that: ‘Local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside unless there are special circumstances…’. However, the definition of previously developed land, in the context of the present case, takes as its starting point that the proposed development is within the curtilage of an existing permanent structure. It follows that a new dwelling within that curtilage will not be an “isolated” home. There will already be a permanent structure on the site.

This has the potential to be a significant change in approach and will no doubt be seized upon by eagle eyed planning consultants and solicitors.

The question is, will Dartford Borough Council take this all the way to the Supreme Court?