Comic sans

An inspector has sided with a council in Cambridgeshire in the reading of a handwritten dimension on a plan relating to planning permission for the change of use of agricultural land to garden land (DCS Number 400-018-548).

The appellants maintained that the height of the boundary fence was given as 7m whereas the council said it was marked as 1m. In upholding an enforcement notice requiring the reduction in height of the 1.5m high fence to 1m the inspector ruled that the figure was the number one written with a serif. She found that it did not look like the number seven which would usually have a far more pronounced top stroke. Moreover, she found it implausible that an application would have been submitted for a 7m high fence since it would be extraordinarily high, especially to enclose a small area of residential land on a street corner.

The inspector also noted that a retrospective planning application for the development with the existing fence had been refused planning permission in 2016. She reasoned that such application would have been unnecessary if the appellants had already sought and obtained planning permission for a fence up to 7m high as suggested. It also struck her as odd that such application had been made merely to “save the blushes” of the council’s planning department.

Tall tales?

Additional cases involving disputed plan dimensions can be found at section 6.32 of DCP Online.