Monthly Archives: September 2016

Deep breath…

A footnote from an inspector’s decision relating to an appeal in Dartmoor (DCS Number 400-013-053) raised a smile here on the DCP Blog –

“The development plan for this area includes (I take a metaphorical deep breath here): the Dartmoor National Park Authority Local Development Framework Core Strategy Development Plan Document 2006-2026 (June 2008), and the Dartmoor National Park Authority Development Management and Delivery Development Plan Document (July 2013).”

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Q Is horticulture agriculture?

A It depends.

Readers working in the rural area will be aware that agriculture, as defined in s336 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, includes horticulture. Nevertheless, an inspector has issued a certificate of lawfulness for the occupation of an agricultural dwelling in Cornwall in breach of the occupancy condition, finding that the appellant’s occupation as a gardener did not comply with its terms (DCS Number 200-005-591).

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To coin a phrase

Inspectors must sometimes think that they spend half their lives correcting enforcement notices and, for whatever reason, it does seem that enforcement gets more than its fair share of criticism. This, to the point that an inspector determining an appeal against an enforcement notice alleging “a mixed use of agriculture and domestic” in Devon (DCS Number 400-012-983) found that the whole situation was such a mess it was ‘omniflawed’.

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Q When is a flat not a flat?

A When it’s a house.

A number of London boroughs have housing policies which seek to resist the conversion of family housing to flats in order to provide choice and meet housing need. An inspector allowing an appeal against the refusal of permission for the conversion of a six-bedroom semi-detached house in southeast London to three flats appears to have used some rather shaky logic (DCS Number 400-012-949).

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Old habits die hard

In Out of sight, out of mind we reported an appeal case in which the inspector cited the Court of Appeal decision in John Turner v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and East Dorset Council [2016]. This established that the question of visual impact is implicitly part of the concept of openness of the green belt. We asked whether the effects of the court case have yet to become apparent. Not so much, appears to be the answer, as evidenced by the following recent decisions from two different inspectors.

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Out of sight, out of mind

Not so long ago the view of inspectors was generally that the impact on openness in the green belt had little to do with whether or not development could be seen. Any physical structure would necessarily reduce openness, it was reasoned. A recent court case appears to have changed things somewhat radically, however.

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Just not listening

Having awarded costs against a planning authority after finding that its “unreasonableness was compounded by its obduracy when presented with clear and compelling evidence on relevant case law by the appellant” an inspector must have been a little surprised to find that the authority had again refused planning permission for a similar development for the same reason.

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September song

Oh, it’s a long, long time

from May to December,

but the days grow short

when you reach September.

Ol’ Blue Eyes’ song about autumn years, poignant though it is, is sadly lacking in insight into the planning definition of a season. Luckily, an inspector dealing with an appeal against the refusal of a certificate of lawfulness for a proposed mobile home at a farm in Essex has been able to contribute (DCS Number 400-012-662).

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