Planning enforcement avoided and appeal success for a live/work unit in Maldon

Planning appeal success for a live work annexe

Navigating the planning system can be a complex process, especially when you are dealing with not one, but two appeals at the same site.  As planning consultants, we are often asked to work on planning appeals where a refusal has been issued on a retrospective application. The added complexity here is that, if it is not permitted then the Local Authority can serve an enforcement notice to remedy the alleged planning breach.

When your planning refusal is followed by an enforcement notice

This very scenario played out for a case we were dealing with in Maldon, Essex. An annexe building was being used by our client’s family as a live/work unit. However, due to its location the site in question was not a typical rear garden annexe, as it was situated away from the main dwelling, outside of the residential curtilage and separated by a main road.

An initial retrospective planning application to regularise the use of the outbuilding as a live/work unit had been refused by the Council as they considered the building to be a new dwelling. To add to its complexities, it was also outside of the settlement boundary and within flood zone 3 and as such they felt it was an unsuitable form of development in this location.

Furthermore, the Council questioned the appropriateness of a retrospective change of use application, instead claiming that despite a historic planning approval for the outbuilding, it had been built without the benefit of planning permission as it did not comply with the approved plans for a building at this location.  The refusal was followed by an Enforcement Notice.

Negotiating our way through 2 planning appeals on 1 site

Our challenge was to demonstrate to the Planning Inspector the ancillary nature of the annexe to the main house despite its location, that the building did have planning permission and that its use as a live/work unit did not constitute a separate dwelling.

Our representations showed that the building did have the relevant permissions and that any changes from the approved plans that had been were ‘de minis’ rather than a ‘material change’.  We supported the appeals with relevant case law and highlighted the sustainable nature of the development which made full use of an existing building. We also presented pragmatic solutions regarding the flood zone issue and overall use of the annexe.

The Planning Inspector found no breach of planning control in respect of the erection of the building, and concluded, as we had, that the live/work annexe made full use of available space within an existing building and achieved all three objectives for sustainable development. The Inspector found that the risks of the flood zone could adequately be mitigated against and the overall use could be controlled by a condition.

We are so glad for our client that a pragmatic and solutions-based approach has secured the future of a live/work unit in this location.

About us

Our team of planning consultants have been providing effective planning guidance to our developer, householder and commercial clients for over a decade. If you need planning support with your development project, then contact our knowledgeable team via to see how we can best assist.