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The number of new homes built on back gardens in non-built up areas is likely to rise on the back of the landmark case of Dartford Borough Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

The council went to the Court of Appeal to challenge decision of a planning inspector who had overturned the Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for a change of use of land to a private gypsy and traveller caravan site, comprising one mobile home and one touring caravan.

The site in question was within the residential curtilage of Shirehall Farm. Shirehall Farm is within the Green Belt, but is not in a built-up area.

Paul Barton, Town Planner at Bruton Knowles, said the inspector had decided that the site qualified as ‘previously developed land’ because it was within the curtilage of a permanent structure and it was not excluded as “land in built-up areas such as private residential gardens, parks, recreation grounds and allotments.”

He said: “At the Court of Appeal, the Council did not challenge that the land was within the curtilage of a permanent structure, but instead unsuccessfully argued that all private residential gardens are excluded from the definition of previously developed land, whether or not they are in a built-up area.”

The NPPF excludes from the definition of Previously Developed land ‘land in built-up areas such as private residential gardens, parks, recreation grounds and allotments’.

But the Court found as a matter of plain English that ‘Land in built-up areas’ cannot mean land not in built-up areas.

“The lawyers had a field day picking the bones out of this one but in a nutshell it means we will be seeing more applications to convert or develop in rural areas.

“The decision could result in speculative applications for new housing on back gardens in the countryside, and determining whether a garden is in a built up area or not

For help with all your property matters contact Paul Barton on 01452 880000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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