Winning at a planning committee hearing in Cornwall

Winning at a planning committee hearing

When it comes to achieving a win at a planning committee hearing, having an expert representing you from NAPC will help.  Submitting paperwork and representing yourself could be overwhelming, especially if you lack knowledge about annexe planning. This is particularly true when the hearing is for something as crucial as getting permission to build a granny annexe for an elderly relative with deteriorating health. 


Why was annexe planning permission required?

Our client needed to build a new ground-floor annexe due to her husband’s ailing health. The family urgently needed additional support from their daughter and family. Obtaining planning permission would enable their daughter’s family to move into the main house. Our clients would still retain independence by living nearby in the new annexe. Winning the planning committee hearing was crucial for this family. Planning permission was sought for an 87 sqm annexe that would replace an existing outbuilding. The annexe contained two bedrooms, a shower room, an open-plan kitchen and a living area.

Why was attending a planning committee necessary?

Following a site visit by the LPA during the initial planning application, concerns were raised that the location of the annexe was not within the curtilage of the main dwelling.  The LPA were also concerned that due to the proposed distance from the main house, and the level of facilities contained within the 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 by the LPA, much to the disappointment of our client and our planners. 

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

The Planning Committee hearing

NAPC prepared a robust appeal statement, which was lodged with the appeal. This focussed on the two main reasons for the planning permission refusal:

  • the site is not within the curtilage
  • the proposed annexe is not ancillary to the main dwelling


It was important to establish from the start of the committee hearing, that it did not matter whether the garden annexe was within the curtilage or not.  This would only be a concern if Permitted Development Rights were to be utilised. In this case, our clients were seeking to build a granny annexe to be used in an ancillary manner.  This would not benefit from Permitted Development Rights in any case.

The test was whether 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 planning 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 provided a clear comparison table, comparing the attributes of a dwelling versus an annexe. It was clear through this that even though the proposal was self-contained, it was heavily reliant on the host dwelling with a solid functional link. 

This coupled with the conclusions drawn in this case: Uttlesford District Council v Secretary of State for the Environment & White [1992].  Proved that despite the annexe having the capability to be used independently, didn’t mean it would be. Many other material considerations needed to be taken into account and were upheld by Oliver, who attended the hearing for the client.


NAPC were delighted that after much discussion the LPA granted planning permission at the hearing! The LPA Inspector also 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 laws we can help. If you are going to a planning committee, get in touch.  Our qualified team will provide expert advice and assess your options.

Further reading

For more information about planning appeals click here.

To learn more about planning and other NAPC news in the blog section of our website, click here. If you are interested in an appeal that we won for a client in the Wirral, click here.


Thinking about building an annexe, garden room or mobile home, but unsure where to start?

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