Problem solved

Last spring the chief executive of the Planning Inspectorate explained that a large part of the reason for the delay in the handling of planning appeals was “the unexpected receipt of more than 1000 prior approval appeals for phone kiosks”. Here on the Blog we remarked that the interest in phone kiosks arises largely from their function as structures for the display of advertisements, and we suggested a solution to the problem (Whatever happened to ….)

Following a recent court ruling, Westminster City Council v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government 5/2/19, however, it seems as if the problem might have been solved thanks to the judge’s interpretation of the GPDO. In this case the court quashed the inspector’s decision (DCS Number 400-019-179) to grant prior approval for a phone kiosk. The judge noted that a development only falls within the scope of the relevant class of the GPDO if it is for the purpose of a telecommunications network, ruling that in order to benefit from permitted development rights, the kiosk had to fall fully and squarely within that class. Because the kiosk was for the dual purpose of communications and advertising, the judge reasoned, the council was right to find that it did not fall within the class.

Good news all round, as we see it. Firstly, the ruling puts an end to any more prior approvals for phone kiosks that nobody needs, and secondly, planning inspectors will no longer be faced with the soul-destroying task of wasting their time on prior approval appeals relating to phone kiosks that nobody needs.

Section 4.3429 of DCP Online sets out the GPDO on telecommunications.