This countryside location was initially the subject of multiple householder submissions in order to establish the principle of a significant amount of additional built form due to the fact that the site was in the Green Belt and the client’s target was a considerably larger replacement dwelling.

An initial pre-application revealed that the Council was unlikely to support a replacement dwelling of the scale that the client desired. However, GSP invited the Council to consider whether it would be possible to justify such a development if certificates of lawfulness relating to proposed extensions were sought in advance of applying for permission for the large, replacement dwelling. In response the Council expressed caution.

The client then instructed GSP to produce two submissions aimed at contributing towards ‘very special circumstances’ that could be used to demonstrate that the harm caused by the proposed larger replacement dwelling would be outweighed by other considerations, such as a variety and spread of variously designed extensions and outbuildings that would essentially have a far greater impact on the Green Belt. This included a ‘prior approval’ for an 8m deep rear extension and a certificate of lawfulness for a detached outbuilding comprising a swimming pool and gym.

GSP then submitted a third application for the demolition of the existing dwelling and outbuildings and the erection of the larger replacement dwelling that totalled less than the volume of the existing plus the certified extensions. Whilst a reduced width was proposed, there was a moderate increase in the height and depth of the dwelling. The replacement pool would also be located within a basement having zero effect on the openness of the Green Belt. The Council accepted that the certified extensions were a genuine fallback and granted planning permission for the larger replacement dwelling.

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