A recent Court of Appeal Judgement may make it easier to get planning permission for small housing developments in small villages.

The Court of Appeal’s decision focussed on the meaning of the word “isolated” in paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). This notes that “Local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside unless there are special circumstances”. A number of potential special circumstances are then listed, which includes dwellings for rural workers.

This is important because development outside defined settlement boundaries is described as being in the “open countryside”. Councils often assume that a development in the open countryside must be isolated, so they refuse the application partly based on paragraph 55 of the NPPF.

The Court of Appeal has determined that this is wrong, and that “the word “isolated” in the phrase “isolated homes in the countryside” simply connotes a dwelling that is physically separate or remote from a settlement.”

When does this matter?

This matters if there are too few homes being built in the local area.

Where the local Council cannot demonstrate an adequate five year housing land supply, then policies in the Council’s development plan that restrict housing cannot be relied upon. Instead, the decision is made based on the NPPF.

If a council can argue that the NPPF restricts development because it would result in “new isolated homes in the open countryside” then they can still refuse a planning application based on the NPPF, even if they don’t have enough housing supply.

The Court of Appeal Judgement means they can’t always make this argument. A development in a small village, even one without a settlement boundary, should not be considered to be isolated.

Vision Planning can help you find out whether or not the local Council can demonstrate an adequate five year housing land supply. If you want to get planning permission for a house or two in a small village, even one without a settlement boundary, please get in touch.

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