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.
Posts By: dcplatest
In an appeal case which is likely to turn the planning world on its head (DCS Number 400-015-553) an inspector awarded costs against a council in Cheshire, determining that it had not substantiated why the “so called upward overlooking” from the porch/shelter at a proposed dwelling would actually result in occupiers being able to look directly into the first floor rooms of the neighbouring house.
Over the last few decades we have been quietly nursing the opinion that the civil servants charged with drafting planning legislation, before they even consider putting pen to paper or digit to keyboard, should be compelled to serve a period in a local authority planning department. Then, they might gain some insight into the difficulties that can arise for the poor souls who have to put their output into practice.
In It’s not fair the Blog criticised the lack of consistency between two appeal decisions (DCS Numbers 400-010-764 and 400-012-610), involving the imposition of conditions requiring planning obligations. The first inspector had decided that it was acceptable to attach a condition requiring a planning obligation in order to ensure that the development was car-free, the second inspector decided that it was not, due to conflict with the PPG.
To an extent, the role of the planning system is to provide certainty to the development industry. Accordingly, it is always rather lovely to see consistency in decision-making, and it appears that inspectors are currently singing from the same hymn sheet with regard to the interpretation of planning conditions.
Or, you can find big stuff in little stuff. Not a very scholarly translation, admittedly, but multum in parvo neatly sums up the significance of punctuation in planning policy and decision making.
Readers working in holiday areas might be interested in an appeal by a holiday caravan site on the Kent coast, in which they sought the reduction of their closed period from two months to two weeks (DCS Number 400-015-300). Planning authorities will often resist such proposals on the grounds that the use becomes tantamount to residential occupation. Whilst the inspector in this case rejected that argument he nevertheless dismissed the appeal on the novel grounds that permanent local residents ought to be allowed some peace and quiet during the winter months.
An inspector dealing with an appeal against the refusal of a lawful development certificate for a detached swimming pool and store at a house in west Yorkshire (DCS Number 400-015-315) has helpfully set out the case law on the definition of curtilage, which readers might find it useful to cut out and keep.
Paragraph 112 of the NPPF states:
“Local planning authorities should take into account the economic and other benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land. Where significant development of agricultural land is demonstrated to be necessary, local planning authorities should seek to use areas of poorer quality land in preference to that of a higher quality.”
This doesn’t come up very often so we thought we’d share.
A condition requiring rooftop extensions at three adjacent properties in north London to be constructed concurrently has been upheld at appeal (DCS Number 400-015-207). The locally listed buildings formed part of a Georgian terrace and the council was concerned to protect the overall unity and character of the terrace. The owners of two of the properties were keen to proceed as soon as possible, whilst the third owner could not commit to the same time frame as the others. The inspector understood that, as the properties were in individual ownership, the condition was frustrating the ambition of others, particularly that of the appellant who was keen to progress a wider scheme of restoration for his property.