In planning, deviation from the proper procedures is fraught with peril. On the other hand, following procedure down a blind alley is not a good course either, as an inspector pointed out in (DCS Number 200-006-790).
In this case the inspector allowed an appeal against a refusal to grant approval of details required by conditions on a planning permission for an apartment building in south Wales. The inspector recorded that the appellant had submitted an application to discharge eight conditions approximately five weeks before the planning permission expired. The majority of the conditions required details to be submitted to and approved by the council prior to the commencement of development. Nevertheless, the appellant commenced development on site before the application was determined by the council. The council then refused the application as the development had commenced prior to the discharge of the conditions.
The council argued that as the appellant had commenced development prior to the determination of the application he was in breach of the conditions. Therefore, the only option was to refuse the application. However, the council confirmed that if the development had not commenced in breach of the conditions it would have approved the application as all the details submitted against each of the eight conditions were acceptable.
Having regard to the fact that the council had granted full planning permission for the development of the site, and that all the details submitted with the application subject to the appeal were acceptable, the inspector considered that the council’s decision was not a pragmatic approach to take. He concluded that the appeal should be allowed.
The following DCP section is relevant: 4.4119