Demolishing the opposition

Pointing out that demolition constitutes development, an inspector has issued a certificate of lawfulness confirming the implementation of a scheme for the redevelopment of a pub in Shropshire with seven houses, notwithstanding the council’s argument that a lawful start had not taken place due to non-compliance with a condition precedent (DCS Number 400-020-173).

Planning permission had been granted for “the erection of 7no. two-bedroom terraced houses following demolition of existing public house” in 2013, and was subject to a drainage condition. Demolition of the pub had taken place in July 2013. The inspector recorded that Section 55(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended by the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 makes clear that development means the carrying out of building operations, and demolition of buildings is a building operation.

The inspector reasoned that the demolition of the former public house was an essential component of the permitted scheme. For the purpose of meeting a time-limiting condition imposed on a planning permission, he recorded, development shall be taken to be begun on the earliest date on which any material operation comprised in the development begins to be carried out. Since demolition is a ‘material operation’ he determined that development of the approved scheme had commenced in July 2013. That development was not in breach of the drainage condition, he decided, having found that it was not a true condition precedent.

He therefore concluded that the commencement was lawful and the council was not justified in refusing to grant a certificate of lawful use or development.

Section 4.3114 of DCP Online covers the subject of demolition.