Knights plc have successfully overturned a decision made by the Secretary of State who refused to grant planning permission and listed building consent in respect of a property located in the Ribble Valley, a Grade II Listed building originally constructed in the 17th century and located adjacent to a Grade I Listed church.

Planning had initially been refused by Ribble Valley Borough Council for the proposed erection of a single storey extension, the reconfiguration of an existing patio and railings, removal of a pointed arch doorway to the southern wall of a modern extension and its replacement with a window, and the repainting of the existing rendered gable wall to the building.

Refusal was initially on the grounds that the proposed erection of the single storey extension and the repainting of the existing rendered gable would adversely affect, and harm, the architectural and historic interest and significance of the building, and dismissed this part of the Appeal. However, the Appeal relating to the reconfiguration of the existing patio and railings and the removal of the pointed arch doorway was permitted on the basis that such works would not harm the architectural and historic interest and significance of the building.

The Court held that the appointed Inspector fell into error having concluded that the proposals brought about less than substantial harm as a result of his findings in respect of two of the proposed works, he went on to contend that there were no public benefits to be considered against any of the harm caused.

This was inconsistent with the Inspector’s earlier finding that the proposed works would bring improvements to the architectural and historic interest of the building as a result of one of the elements of the proposal, for which, public benefits ought to have been taken into account.

The Court also made it clear that although as a matter of judgment, the heritage merits of individual works might have their impact assessed separately, they were (in this case) connected as proposals not only relating to the same listed building, but also proposals which were closely physically related as well.

Knights were supported by counsel (John Hunter from Kings Chambers, Manchester).