Monthly Archives: January 2017

Achieving retail objectives

Those with an interest in the retail sector will know that development plan policy generally seeks to ensure that the vitality and viability of district centres is protected and that it is not undermined by changes of use from retail use. The loss of a retail unit in a north Wales shopping centre has been allowed by an inspector, however, after he decided that conversion of the former newsagent’s with attached dwelling to three dwellings would be preferable to long-term vacancy (DCS Number 400-014-214).

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Is there a loophole in Class P?

Prior approval for the conversion of two floors of a warehouse in Sussex to nine flats has been turned down at appeal, an inspector finding that the size of the building would exceed the 500 sqm floor space limitation set out in Schedule 2, Part 3, Class P of the GPDO (DCS Number 400-014-157). Whilst the inspector found that external walls must be included in calculations of floor space under this class there appears, nonetheless, to be an unresolved question arising from the absence of reference to cumulative maximum floor space figures.

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PINS slips up

Hopefully, this was a one-off, since we hold the Planning Inspectorate in the highest regard, but just in case it wasn’t readers might wish to be alerted to this apology from an inspector under Preliminary Matters in a recent appeal (DCS Number 200-006-021) in order to make the appropriate checks.

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The significance of layout

We thought this snippet was interesting for the considerable (unprecedented?) emphasis placed on the importance of urban grain. The case (DCS Number 400-014-146) concerns an appeal against the refusal of listed building consent to create an off-road parking area at a grade II listed former mill worker’s cottage in an area designated as a World Heritage Site.

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A spectrum of wrongdoing

In considering an appeal against an enforcement notice directed at the residential conversion of a barn on an Essex farm an inspector was called on to apply the principles of the Welwyn judgment which hold that no-one should be allowed to profit from his own wrong: the public policy principle. Readers might wish to cut out and keep paragraphs 29 to 32 of this decision (DCS Number 200-005-982) since they set out the four features of deception which take development outside the scope of immunity from enforcement, and which might involve ‘a spectrum of wrongdoing’.

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Error message

An enforcement notice issued by a council in Bedfordshire has been declared a nullity because it had the wrong signature (DCS Number 400-013-893).

The enforcement notice was signed by the council’s Principal Solicitor, the inspector recorded. The appellant had provided an extract of the council’s Constitution. The inspector noted that there was a general scheme of delegation to Directors and the Chief Executive, and a specific scheme of delegation authorising particular post-holders to undertake specific functions. ‘Principal Solicitors’ were given delegated authority to prosecute for offences and to authorise any officer of the council to appear in court. The delegation was limited to those functions, she noted, and it was the Development Control Manager who was given delegated authority to issue and serve enforcement notices. Therefore, it was the council’s Development Control Manager who had authority to issue the notice and not the Principal Solicitor.

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