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Council planning decision overturned
A PLANNING inspector has overturned a decision to impose a condition that a new home could only be built if it was to be occupied by an agricultural worked.
Wiltshire Council granted permission in June last year for Elcombe Farm Bungalow in Alvediston to be demolished and replaced by a £1m new home but added the condition that is must be occupied by someone “solely or mainly working, or last working, in the locality in agriculture or in forestry”.
But Michael and Pen Milburn, who made the application and currently live in the bungalow, have never been involved in agriculture.
The same condition was put on the application when the bungalow was built in 1974 and when permission was later granted for a two-storey extension, the condition was never removed.
The site is in open countryside and planning policy says new dwellings should be restricted, but there is a policy that allows properties in poor condition to be replaced and the council approved a replacement house that would be twice the size of the original.
Inspector Roger Pritchard’s report said the council’s decision seemed to have been “significantly swayed” both in allowing the application and imposing the condition by the belief that the couple were retired farmers.
The report said: “The source of this information appears to be the implications of the design and access statement submitted with the application. However, it appears the council was misled.”
But Trevor Marks, the former occupant who appealed against the condition, demonstrated at the hearing that the Milburns had never been connected with agriculture or any other rural activity.
Mr Pritchard said the council’s assumption would mean that a future application to lift the condition “would have been almost inevitable given the scale and value of the replacement dwelling”.
He said: “I have no difficulty in accepting an open market valuation above £1m. Even with the application of a discount for an agricultural workers’ condition, I therefore find it difficult to see how the replacement dwelling would contribute to the stock of cheaper properties available to those who such conditions are normally intended to benefit.”
He concluded that the condition was “irrelevant” and “unnecessary” and ordered it be removed.
He also ruled that Wiltshire Council should pay Mr Marks costs in taking the application to appeal.
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