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Pook Barn Approval

14 February 2023 11:00

Retrospective permission was granted for a dwelling to replace a demolished barn in Sussex which benefitted from prior approval to be converted into a dwelling house

Lewis & Co Planning are delighted to have secured retrospective planning permission for a new dwelling on a site that formed part of an agricultural holding in Mid Sussex.

The appeal was a complex case with the site formerly benefitting from prior approval for an agricultural barn conversion that the appellants were unable to lawfully complete before the three year time limit expired. Despite the finished development reflecting the approved prior approval design, Mid Sussex District Council Planning Committee refused to regularise the development and resolved to pursue enforcement action if the appeal failed.

The council also resisted the development on the basis that the site lay in the countryside and was not accessible other than by car. Following a hearing in early January Lewis & Co argued that the completed self-build home preserves the rural character of the area and provided a highly sustainable new home alongside significant biodiversity enhancements to the appeal site. The inspector reviewed the access to services and concluded that a number of local services were accessible from the appeal site on foot, or by bicycle. These included a service station approximately 800 metres to the north of the site, which had a small supermarket offering day-to-day essentials, as well as a coffee shop and a burger restaurant. In relation to a small settlement to the south, there was a community shop, a village hall, a number of pubs, as well as public transport connections to larger settlements further afield including a new footpath to a higher order settlement, thereby offering additional links to a greater range of community facilities and services.

Therefore, while the scheme did conflict with some of the policies in the local plan, the site was judged to be generally accessible. The house was smaller than the barn it replaced, and it was the appellants' only residence. The self-build nature of the development, the sustainable construction techniques used, and the biodiversity enhancements to the site, were all material considerations which weighed in the planning balance, the inspector held, and he allowed the appeal.

Lewis & Co Planning are very pleased to bring this situation to a satisfactory conclusion on behalf of our client.


Luke and the team at Lewis & Co successfully gained us, through the planning appeals system, the planning consent that the council had denied us. Ours was far from a straight forward case and the risk of failure would have been disastrous for ourselves and our family. The calm and professional guidance that the team provided was hugely reassuring and ultimately provided us with our dream home. This along with their willingness to answer with good grace, all questions no matter how trivial is why we fully recommend Lewis & Co to anyone seeking planning advice no matter how complicated it may seem.