Posts By: dcplatest

Substance over style



Given the tragic fire that occurred at a block of flats in north Kensington in June, and the concerns about the type of cladding used on the exterior of the building, we might find that householders’ taste for exterior cladding will diminish. Here at the Blog we certainly hope so, if an appeal case in northeast London (DCS Number 400-016-628) is a representative example of what is currently being put forward for planning permission. Quite apart from the safety considerations, which must now demand the closest scrutiny, the inspector describes a proposal which sounds architecturally ghastly.

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It might come in



This one will appeal to hoarders.

In dealing with an application for a certificate of lawfulness to confirm that a permitted development extension to a cottage in Yorkshire had been lawfully implemented and could therefore be completed (DCS Number 400-016-702), an inspector explained that in such cases the relevant GPDO is that in force at the time the development was begun. In the case before her the inspector noted that a trench and foundation were dug and installed, respectively, when the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 was in force.

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The order of precedence



In a recent appeal decision an inspector gives consideration to what makes a condition a true condition precedent (DCS Number 400-016-471).

The case concerns the refusal of a lawful development certificate for the creation of a first floor flat, granted planning permission in 2006. The appellant claimed that the permission had been implemented due to the digging of a trench. The inspector, however, was not satisfied either that the works were done in accordance with the permission or that they were more than de minimis. She explained that even if the digging of the hole had constituted a material operation, it was possible that the permission had expired if there was a failure to comply with a condition precedent before the deadline for commencement of the permission.

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Ceteris paribus



We all know that each planning application and appeal falls to be considered on its own merits. Nonetheless, this accepted wisdom should not be allowed to provide an excuse to close off proper consideration of comparable developments, as can sometimes happen at appeal. Because, in the interest of fairness there must be consistency in decision-making. Although two schemes are rarely identical there can be similarities which merit equal treatment.

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Wriggle room



An inspector who refused permission for a temporary mobile home associated with a vermiculture enterprise in north Yorkshire (DCS Number 200-006-878) might have opened a can of worms.

The appellant explained that he needed to be on hand to ensure the correct environment for the worms was maintained, as failure of the systems could result in a sudden mass exodus of worms out of the tubs and onto the dry and dusty floor which would result in death within minutes. The council, however, provided evidence that a number of dwellings had been available for both sale and rent in recent times in the village which could provide nearby accommodation for the appellant. Taking this and all other factors into account, the inspector was not convinced that the mobile home would be essential for the operation of the enterprise.

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A classic case



The issue of the planning unit comes up not infrequently, particularly in enforcement cases. As an inspector has recorded and helpfully set out in his decision (DCS Number 400-016-723), the classic definition is found in Burdle v Secretary of State for the Environment [1972]. Readers might find it useful to keep this somewhere handy.

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