Monthly Archives: June 2017

The plan-led system



In deciding an appeal against the refusal of planning permission for seven houses in north London (DCS Number 400-015-723) an inspector has highlighted the primacy of the development plan.

The proposal did not make provision for a contribution towards affordable housing, the developers drawing attention to national planning policy in the Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) of 28 November 2014, which states that “Due to the disproportionate burden of developer contributions on small-scale developers, for sites of 10-units or less… affordable housing and tariff style contributions should not be sought”. The inspector recorded that the WMS, taken together with the related sections of the Planning Practice Guidance are clear and unequivocal statements of national policy, and as a consequence are considerations to which he attached very considerable weight.

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Give cake a chance



We are wondering whether the planning system is getting a bit intolerant in its old age. We know that it is a matter of judgement as to whether or not to take action against a transgression of planning legislation, so shouldn’t there be a bit of latitude for business start-ups generally, and for cake specifically?

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Just kidding around



Between ourselves, part of the fun of this job is in reading about the inventive and sometimes hilarious schemes people dream up to circumvent planning legislation. Here’s one you’ll like.

This case (DCS Number 400-015-641) involves an appeal against an enforcement notice requiring the removal of a goat shelter built on skids from agricultural land in Devon. The appellant contended that the shelter was a mobile field shelter that contravened no planning legislation. The planning authority, on the other hand, considered that the timber building constituted a building operation and was development within the meaning of s55 of the Act, and referred to the tests to establish whether a structure is a building on the basis of its size, permanence and attachment to the land (Barvis Ltd v SSE [1971] and Skerritts of Nottingham Ltd v SSETR [2000]).

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Prohibited development



More often than not, inspectors will strike out conditions removing permitted development rights, since Planning Policy Guidance advises that conditions restricting the future use of permitted development rights will rarely pass the test of necessity and should only be used in exceptional circumstances. In (DCS Number 400-015-542), however, an inspector decided that protection of the green belt provided those exceptional circumstances.

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Never heard of it



In referring to Dunnett Investments Ltd v SSCLG and East Dorset District Council [2016] an inspector dealing with an appeal against the refusal of a certificate of lawfulness to confirm the unfettered A1 retail use of a unit on a retail park in Newcastle has helpfully set out the judge’s summary of the law on conditions. Take a peek here (DCS Number 400-015-376).

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Lights, camera, action!



Though it might appear that it’s all glamour in town planning those of us in the business understand that there is a lot of technical know-how involved behind the scenes. An appeal case concerning the refusal of a certificate of lawfulness for the use of a property in south London for a mixed use as a dwelling and a photoshoot and film location (DCS Number 400-015-391) illustrates the point. In this case the inspector considered whether the use had achieved immunity from enforcement action.

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