‘Stable block’ which looked more like a luxury home ‘was never used for horses’

The local council said the building was more like a house and not suitable for horses.

A ‘stable block’ built on green belt land more closely resembled a luxury home, a planning inspector has ruled.

Bolton Council said the building on the rural outskirts of the town at The Courts Yard, Boot Lane, Doffcocker, was built with discrepancies including larger than permitted windows and door openings ‘not suitable for a functioning stable’.

They also claimed that roof lights were included which were not included on the approved plans and a large opening was created on the gable elevation. Applicant Mr J Court, who gained planning permission to to build the ‘stables’ in 2015, applied last year to convert the building into a single home.

An appeal was then lodged with the Planning Inspectorate on the grounds of ‘non determination’ by Bolton Council. In a decision published within the last week, planning inspector Paul Martinson dismissed the appeal.

He said: “The council argue that as a result of the discrepancies with the approved plans the building is more akin to a dwelling than the approved stables. They conclude without reasonable doubt that what has been erected from the outset on site is not the approved stables, but a house.”

The inspector concluded that he doubted that a horse had ever set foot inside the ‘stables’.

He said: “It is unlikely that the building has ever been used for stabling horses. No evidence has been supplied that would indicate otherwise and the appellant is silent on this matter.

“The comments received from local residents reinforce my conclusion in this regard. The appeal site lies off a narrow lane within a grassed clearing between small areas of woodland with a natural appearance.

“The formation of a dwelling and its associated garden would inevitably result in the introduction of domestic and urban characteristics into the landscape here arising from hardsurfacing, refuse storage, outdoor seating, the maintenance of a garden area, and other such domestic paraphernalia. These characteristics would be viewed as incongruous with the wooded and natural setting in views from Boot Lane and the adjacent public right of way.”

Mr Partinson went on to give reasons why he was turning down the application to allow the building to be converted into a home.

He said: “The proposed development would be inappropriate development in the green belt and would harm openness.”