Planning law is known to be a complex area of law and is often difficult to interpret. A recent decision by the Planning Inspectorate (reference: APP/B9506/C/17/3187537) has shown just how important it is to pay attention to the details when considering planning matters.

The case concerned permitted development rights under The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (SI 2015/596) ("GDPO"). This Order effectively grants planning permission in respect of certain developments, which are known as permitted development rights.  One such permitted development is for "buildings within the curtilage of the dwellinghouse" although there are limitations and conditions on what can be built.

The owner of the property in this case erected a a steel framed Garden Room which only had a finger width gap between it and the main property. It was originally held that this was in breach of the GDPO.  

On appeal however, it was held that there was no breach of the GDPO as:

"The GPDO makes a clear distinction between extensions to a dwelling and buildings, etc that are constructed within the curtilage of a dwelling and this is a distinction that would be evident in most circumstances. It does not indicate whether such Class E structures should be a minimum distance from the dwelling although the Technical Guidance refers to buildings attached to a dwelling falling within Class A."

The clear distinction of the Garden Room being constructed as a separate structure (and not therefore an extension to the main property) meant that it could not be in breach of the GDPO and that it was not required to be a minimum distance away from the property, even though a casual observer might perceive the garden room as an extension to the dwelling and not as a free-standing structure and the original enforcement notice for was quashed.