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Success on appeal and full costs awarded for conversion of existing building to residential in the Green Belt

On 21st September 2016, planning permission was granted on appeal for the change of use and extension of an existing coach house outbuilding to use as a dwelling at the Plough Inn (public house), Old Fosse Way Eathorpe, Leamington Spa together with a full award of costs. Sally Stroman, Director acted for the successful Appellants. The appeal site was located in the Green Belt, whilst there was no dispute that the conversion of the building together with the two storey extension would not constitute inappropriate development within the Green Belt, the Inspector considered that the provision of one dwelling would contribute to the Council’s lack of five housing supply, the use of redundant building would enhance both the structure and its setting within the Conservation Area. In conclusion, the Inspector found that the proposal would be sustainable development for which the Framework carries a presumption in favour.

In making the award of costs the Inspector stated that the Council’s case offered no explanation as to why they considered that the proposal would not enhance the immediate setting of the building and in addition no consideration was given to the statutory requirement to preserve or enhance the Conservation Area within which the appeal site is located. The inspector concluded, that unreasonable behaviour had been demonstrated and that a full award of costs for the resultant unnecessary expense incurred by the appellant was justified.