To justify its decision, the Commission gave the following reasons:
The proposal location consisted of uncommitted land within a rural area where new urban development was not considered justified;
The proposed basement was neither adequately ventilated, nor illuminated for its intended use. Thus, the proposal was in breach of sanitary regulations.
Following the said decision, applicant lodged an appeal before the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal, insisting that the permit should have been issued.
With his application for appeal (rikors), applicant (now, appellant) attached a scaled block plan of the area showing a development which was granted a permit on the adjacent site.
Appellant pointed out that his proposal was tantamount to an edge of development (being next to the plot shown in the block plan) and he was thus equally entitled to a permit.
With regard to the light and ventilation issues, appellant submitted that such concerns could be easily addressed.
In reply, the case officer representing the Authority rebutted that the permit quoted by appellant referred to a winery which was to be located below street level.
Moreover, the case officer held that the winery was granted permission since it was ‘directly related to agriculture’ and an outline permit had already been issued on that same site. Consequently, appellant’s circumstances were different and he could therefore not rely on such commitment to justify a request for residential use.
Having said that, one could possibly justify new development next to a party wall outside the schemed boundary as long as the wall height was at least one storey – in the present situation, this was evidently not the case.
Moreover, the case officer noted that applicant himself had admitted that the ventilation/light issues could be addressed.
This, according to the case officer, was an admission on applicant’s part that the Authority was correct to refuse the application on sanitary grounds.
In its assessment, the Tribunal observed that the permit quoted by applicant to justify his proposal on the basis of the edge development principle related to a building having a walled elevation with apertures. Consequently, applicant was wrong to assert that the proposed development would abut a blank party wall.
Against this background, the Tribunal held that the proposal would not result in an environmental benefit and thus rejected the appeal.