The Blog recently reported a case in which an inspector was scathing about a council’s failure to substantiate a costs claim. It gets worse! In the appeal reported in First written warning the council did at least argue its case in relation to the unauthorised development. In a more recent case, however, (DCS Number 400-014-612) the council hasn’t even troubled to do that much. The inspector’s decision was short, and consists of little more than his findings that: the appellants were of the view that the extension would be lawful because the operations proposed would be permitted development; the council had not provided any justification as to why the appellants’ contentions were not correct; having had regard to the GPDO he agreed with the appellants. Unsurprisingly, the inspector awarded costs against the council. He found that the council had failed to:
- determine the three applications that were made to them.
- give the applicants a proper explanation as to why they were unable to determine the applications within the prescribed limits.
- explain why permission would not have been granted had the application been determined within the relevant period.
- respond to the applications for awards of costs made by the applicants.
This kind of behaviour is really not going to improve our standing in the community.
The following DCP section is relevant: 5.34