A couple have been granted planning permission to build an annexe next to their daughter’s home despite concerns that the new development could be used as a separate home. 

Peter and Ruth Sellors had applied for permission to build the self-contained annexe at a site in Bosvargus Hill, St Just.

The single storey annexe will have a master bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and an open plan lounge and dining room. However, planning officers at Cornwall Council had recommended that the west sub-area planning committee should refuse planning permission.

They said this was due to concerns about the size of the new building, which would be two-thirds of the footprint of the host home, and that it would not comply with the council’s policy around annexes because it “results in a building capable of being occupied independently to the principal dwelling, thereby failing to demonstrate a functional link”.

In addition officers said the site is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Site and the proposed building does not “reference or reinforce local distinctiveness in an area”. They also said that it was contrary to the St Just neighbourhood development plan.

The committee heard from Mr and Mrs Sellors’ daughter who explained that the annexe was needed so that she could help care for her parents who are currently living in a three-bedroom property in St Just. She said that they had been trying to downsize for some time but had been unable to find a suitable home.

St Just Town Council had supported the application and town councillor Sue James said that as well as providing an annexe to enable the couple to get care from their daughter it would also free up a family home in the area.

Cllr James said the council’s support was due to the “serious housing crisis” in the area which was preventing people from being able to find suitable housing. She said: “It provides an ageing couple the opportunity to downsize to an appropriate location and it meets Cornwall Council’s annexe policy.”

And she added: “It will free up a three bedroom family home for local people and I assure you there will be keen competition for that home.” Cllr James suggested that a condition could be placed on the planning permission so that the annexe could only be used as an annexe and not be sold as a standalone dwelling.

Brian Clemens, local Cornwall councillor for the area, said he supported the application and said he wouldn’t have done so if he did not think it was viable. He said that it would help the family if Mr and Mrs Sellors could live close to their daughter.

Cllr Clemens added: “The elderly people do need looking after, it would be nice if they are in a position where they have some kind of independence but if they need help they can access it easily.”

Committee member Thalia Marrington proposed that the application should be approved but with an added condition that it can only be used as an annexe. That was seconded by John Thomas.

Loveday Jenkin also supported the plans and said: “I do think the size is not excessive and it can be tied to the family unit. There is no vehicular access and you can’t own it separately from that property. That is clearly an annexe.”

The committee agreed to grant approval of the application with 10 votes in favour and one against.