A RESIDENTIAL annexe that was refused planning permission by Darlington Borough Council has been allowed on appeal by the planning inspector.

The council has been ordered to pay the full cost of the appeal after the planning inspector ruled that its planning committee acted ‘unreasonably’ by going against the advice of officers and refusing the application.

The application for a single-storey annexe to a detached property in Tees Grange Avenue, in the Hummersknott area of Darlington, was turned down by the council in June last year on the grounds that it would cause a visual impact, loss of privacy and general noise disturbance to nearby residents.

Loading article content

That decision was against the advice of the council’s planning officers who had recommended approval, despite the concerns of neighbours, because there were no sound planning reasons to refuse it.

Following an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate by the applicant, represented by planning consultants England and Lyle, inspector Gary Deane carried out a site visit and heard representations from the parties involved.

His report stated: “A new single storey building would be introduced in place of a garage that would be sufficiently well removed from [neighbouring properties] to avoid any undue harm to the living conditions of these properties.”

Mr Deane imposed a condition that the building can only be used as an annexe to the existing residential building.

On the matter of costs, Mr Deane noted that costs in an appeal case may only be awarded against a party that has ‘behaved unreasonably and thereby caused unnecessary or wasted expense in the appeal process’.

He added: “I have little doubt that the council has behaved unreasonably because it has failed to show why the development should not proceed and has not substantiated the reason for refusal at appeal.

“To my mind the council has prevented development that should clearly have been permitted.”

Jeremy Good, director of England and Lyle, said: “Clearly we are delighted with the Inspectors ruling which has approved our clients’ proposal.

“This decision again illustrates that such decisions cannot be made without financial consequences to the council.”

Following the ruling, the applicants can now submit their claim to the council to have their appeal costs paid in full.