Monthly Archives: February 2017

Anschluss



You would think, after two world wars, that they might have learned that attempts at annexation never end well. But no, they’ve been at it again. We are nonetheless very pleased to report that a gallant inspector has single-handedly foiled a German plot to annexe part of London’s Belgravia (DCS Number 400-014-581).

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Cultivating equality



We know that planning inspectors are not heartless people so it must be very difficult for them when they feel compelled to deploy an all-too-familiar piece of text. This runs along the lines of “Whilst I have given these personal circumstances careful consideration, I am mindful of the advice contained in Planning Policy Guidance that in general planning is concerned with land use in the public interest. It is also probable that the proposed development would remain long after the current personal circumstances cease to be material.” [Translation: The building will be there long after your frail parent/disabled child is dead so I’m really sorry but I’m going to have to dismiss this one.]

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We need to talk about Airbnb….



…because it’s getting bigger all the time and we need to set boundaries.

An appeal against an enforcement notice directed at the use of an outbuilding in the Lake District for letting through Airbnb (DCS Number 400-014-522) is a case in point. The appellant contended that the building was effectively an additional bedroom to the main house and was let only occasionally through Airbnb. Having examined the information on the Airbnb website, however, the inspector came to the conclusion that a material change of use had occurred and therefore a breach of planning control had taken place. He upheld the notice.

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First written warning



Rumour has it that planners have a tendency to keep quiet about their profession at parties, and given some of our colleagues’ behaviour on occasion it isn’t hard to see why the public perception of the planning profession is not always as elevated as it might be. Three cheers to the planning inspector who recently upbraided a council for its poor behaviour in making an unsubstantiated costs claim.

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A close match?



Readers dealing with domestic extensions will be aware that Condition A.3(a) of Schedule 2, Part 1, Class A of the GPDO requires the materials used in any exterior work to be of a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the exterior of the existing dwellinghouse. The Technical Guidance for Householders offers guidance on what this ought to mean in practice but to some extent the meaning of ‘similar appearance’ must be drawn from precedent. On this basis, a recent appeal case in southwest London (DCS Number 400-014-332) is of interest.

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Born in a barn



In Defending the sustainability test for barn conversions the Blog highlighted the illogicality of there being different sustainability criteria for barn conversion proposals according to whether they require prior approval or planning permission. In a recent case in Sussex (DCS Number 400-014-208) the appellant succeeded in using the fallback of a prior approval for residential conversion of a barn as a lever to gain planning permission for replacement with a new dwelling, and in so doing showed just how pointless this difference in treatment is.

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A horse of a different colour



Taken from a recent appeal decision (DCS Number 400-014-301):

“At paragraph 10 of the Council’s appeal statement it refers to the “Gelding judgement” [sic]; this has not been queried by the Appellant. However I anticipate that the Council does not wish me to form a sensible opinion about a castrated male horse, but that it is in fact referring to the case of Timmins & Anor v Gedling Borough Council [2014] EWHC 654 (Admin) [my emphasis].”

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