Planning obligation reference to old GDO no longer binding

An inspector has issued a certificate of lawfulness for an extension to a dwelling in Essex (DCS Number 400-013-660) after finding that a reference to the 1988 General Development Order in a planning obligation was no longer binding.

The s52 Agreement covenanted “…to surrender all residential permitted development rights within Classes A B C D and E of Part 1 of the Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1988.” The inspector ruled that since the s52 Agreement referred exclusively to the 1988 GDO the covenantor could not be deemed to have surrendered permitted development rights granted by subsequent Orders. He noted that, under the Interpretation Act 1978, a reference in any Act or Statutory Instrument to the 1988 GDO would be construed as a reference to the 2008 GPDO and the 2015 GPDO. However, the council had not identified any provision which applied that principle to references in a deed, such as a s52 Agreement. In the absence of any clear submissions to the contrary, he did not accept that the Interpretation Act 1978 cured the problem with the s52 Agreement.

We are not entirely sure that we are with the inspector on this one as s17 of the Interpretation Act does make a catch-all reference to ‘or other thing done’, and a s52 Agreement must surely fall within this category. However, when dealing with similar cases the way you wish to interpret the Interpretation Act might just vary depending on whose side you’re on.

The following DCP section is relevant: 4.4261

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