Don’t panic

On realising that a decision notice has been sent out in error it might be tempting to fire off a corrected version in the hope that it will put things right. It won’t – as the council discovered in (DCS Number 400-013-894).

The Dorset council initially issued a decision notice granting planning permission for a new house. The council contended at appeal that this was issued in error. The council subsequently issued a second decision notice, dated the same date, refusing planning permission. It was on the basis of this notice that the appeal was lodged.

The inspector explained that Sections 97 to 100 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 set out the powers available to revoke or modify a planning permission. This includes the provision that, if it appears to the local planning authority that it is expedient to revoke or modify a planning permission, they may by order do so, to such an extent as they consider expedient. He recorded that this formal procedure did not appear to have been undertaken by the council in the case before him. He concluded that the initial decision notice remained valid and the second decision notice, despite being issued to rectify an administrative error, was not valid. Consequently, there was no power of an appeal against the second notice and he took no action on the appeal.

The following DCP section is relevant: 6.21

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