As one would have expected, the Planning Commission reasoned out that the proposed development ran counter to the provisions of policy P27 of the Development Control Design Policy, Guidance and Standards 2015 which specifies that ‘in order to safeguard the integrity of existing gardens, neighbourhood or locality in terms of important green enclaves, the depth of built footprint as measured from the official building alignment will not be allowed to exceed 30 metres.’
In addition, the Commission held that the proposal was in breach of Urban Objective 3 of the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED) which aims to protect and enhance the character and amenity of urban areas.
In reply, applicant filed an appeal before the Environment and Planning Authority, insisting that the Commission was wrong in its judgment.
Applicant submitted that his premises consisted of a two-storey terrace house, which was built way back in the early eighties. Applicant, now appellant, explained that he admitted that he had obtained a permit, though admitting that the store in question was built without prior authorisation.
The Tribunal was reminded that the store, which was the main bone of contention, had a footprint area of approximately 22sq.m. Appellant disagreed that the said store was in breach of policy P27 of the Development Control Design Policy, Guidance and Standards 2015 as held by the Authority since his site had a depth of over 50 metres whereas the adjacent properties ‘not only projected deeper than his property but also had rooms at the rear which abut onto his gardening store, for which sanctioning was being requested’.
On his part, the case officer was left unimpressed with applicants’ arguments. It was reiterated that the garden rooms in the case of the adjacent properties were situated at ‘the very back of the site’. Moreover, the officer observed that the plot next door had a ‘significantly larger garden which merits a garden room in order to better safeguard the building of which it forms part that lies within the Urban Conservation Area.’
In its assessment, the Tribunal saw that the disputed 22sq.m room was located beyond the statutory 30-metre distance taken from the building line. Nevertheless, the Tribunal took regard of the surrounding context, in particular the size of the room in relation to the dividing garden wall, and went on to conclude that there was no issue insofar as visual impact was concerned.
Against this background, the Trbunal held that there was no objection to the issuing of the permit, so long as applicant was subject to a fine of €540 since he had proceeded with the works without authorisation.