In May 2019 Irianna Dimitriou, Planner at Tetlow King Planning’s (TKP) Kent office, secured full planning permission for the change of use and redevelopment of a detached garage, into an independent residential property in Sevenoaks, Kent. The property is located outside of settlement boundaries and lies entirely within the Metropolitan Green Belt, where development is strictly controlled.
The building is of substantial size and was operating as a kitchen for a catering business for over a decade. However, this use was never officially established. Given the nature of said use, an increased number of cars and car-trips associated with the catering business were taking place on site and an outbuilding and a lean-to were also added to the application site to facilitate this use.
The proposal was seeking the removal of the lean-to and outbuilding which were of no architectural merit, the addition of two dormer windows, the removal of existing velux windows and addition of two new ones to allow for strategic natural light utilisation, the replacement of a roll-up door with a glazed, side-folding, double-door providing access to a garden, the removal of the existing garage door to be replaced by a brick wall, the replacement of a window with a main entrance door, the partial removal of a leylandii hedge and the placement of a fence to insure amenity.
While development in the Green Belt is generally not encouraged and in this case loss of employment in the countryside could have been an issue, it was considered that this proposal would not have a negative impact on openness, it would introduce a use (C3) better suited for the area and it would have a positive aesthetic and environmental impact, while respecting its surroundings. Finally, the proposed design was found to be respectful to the rural character of the area, overall making best use of the land, while addressing the need for housing in the area.
While a lot of things could have gone wrong and this application turned out to be more complicated than initially anticipated, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Councils subsequent grant of permission for this conversion, has created a new home, available for a family to move into and enjoy.