NAPC success at a Planning Appeal in Cornwall

Cornwall planning appeal success

Handling a planning appeal with no experience or knowledge of the laws surrounding annexe planning permission is a daunting prospect, especially when it is for something as important as building a granny annexe, or garden annexe for an elderly relative with deteriorating health that has already been declined on first application.

This is why it is so important for homeowners to enlist the help of a specialist planning consultancy when submitting an annexe planning application. And most importantly having professional representation to put the strongest case forward, should your application go to an appeal hearing.

In this Case Study, we’ll talk you through an appeal that we managed for a client in Cornwall and why getting annexe planning permission for them was so important.

Why did our client need the Annexe?

Our clients desperately needed the garden annexe to move into, due to the requirement for ground floor living accommodation. Her husband’s health was deteriorating and they quickly needed additional support from her daughter and family.

Getting planning permission for, and building the new garden annexe would free up the main house for their daughter and her family to move into, enabling our clients to live in the new annexe whilst maintaining some independence. Her daughter would then be on hand to provide care and support to her parents.

Why was Annexe Planning Permission required?

Planning permission was sought for an 87 sqm annexe that would replace an existing outbuilding located towards a Southern boundary of the rear garden. The annexe contained two bedrooms, a shower room and an open-plan kitchen and living area.

Why was the Annexe Planning Application initially refused?

Following a site visit by the Case Officer, concerns were raised by Cornwall Local Planning Authority (LPA) that the location of the annexe was not within the curtilage of the residential dwelling.  Additionally, the LPA had a concern that due to the distance from the main house, and the level of facilities contained within the garden annexe, it would not be ancillary but tantamount to the creation of a separate independent dwelling.

Despite putting forward counterarguments during the annexe planning application process as well as additional case law to support our position, the Council were not willing to approve the annexe application located in the proposed location. The application was refused.

After a detailed review of the refusal reasons and given the in-principle objection from the LPA, NAPC recommended that an appeal be lodged to the Planning Inspectorate.

The Appeal

NAPC prepared a robust and comprehensive appeal statement, which was lodged with the appeal, this focused on the two main reasons for refusal, 1) the site is not within the curtilage and 2) the proposed annexe is not ancillary to the main dwelling.


It was important at the start of the Appeal to establish that it did not matter whether the proposed siting of the garden annexe was within the curtilage or not.  This should only become a concern if Permitted Development Rights were to be utilised. In this case, our clients were seeking to erect a granny annexe to be used in an ancillary manner with the host dwelling, which would not benefit from Permitted Development Rights in any case.

The test, therefore, was whether or not the proposed location was within the Residential Planning unit of the existing dwelling. NAPC included a detailed commentary on the Landmark case: Bridge J in Burdle v. Secretary of State for the Environment which provides three tests for determining the planning unit.

NAPC were able to assess each of these tests against the proposal and clearly demonstrate why the proposal complied.


The LPA considered that the proposal would not be ancillary to the main dwelling due to the size and level of facilities within the annexe.

NAPC as part of the appeal provided a clear comparison table, comparing the attributes of a dwelling v’s an annexe. It was clear through this comparison that even though the proposal was self-contained, it was heavily reliant on the host dwelling and had a strong functional link.

This coupled with the conclusions drawn within the case Uttlesford District Council v Secretary of State for the Environment & White [1992J], proved that despite the annexe having the capabilities of being used independently didn’t mean it would be used as such and that there are many other material considerations that need to be taken into account.

The success of the Planning Appeal

After much discussion NAPC were delighted that the LPA took the decision to not only grant the appeal, but the LPA Inspector agreed with all of our arguments tipping the planning balance in the favour of the appellants.

If you are struggling to make sense of annexe planning application law, or have had your annexe planning application refused and would like to look at your options to appeal the decision, please contact our friendly, professional team at the NAPC.

We will be more than happy to provide expert advice and assess your options, recommending the best route forward.

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