Ignorance of the law

Since when has it been the appellant’s responsibility to educate a planning inspector about planning law?!

In Open all hours? we reported an appeal case in which the inspector cited the relevant planning legislation concerning electronic communications (DCS Number 400-016-112). He recorded that “Paragraph 2(7) of Schedule 1 to the Town and Country Planning  (Electronic Communications) (England) Order 2003 and Article 2(9) of the GPDO are clear”….”that communications received outside of normal business hours shall be taken to have been received the next working day. Furthermore, section 336(4A) of the 1990 Act indicates that an electronic communication, used for the purposes of giving a notice, shall be taken to have been received the following day if received outside of that person’s business hours.”

In another appeal case relating to the approval of details pursuant to conditions attached to permission for a new access in Sussex, however, the inspector ruled differently (DCS Number 400-022-889). “The Council’s decision to refuse to grant approval of the details submitted pursuant to conditions 6 and 7 was issued by email communication on 12 March 2019 at 2235” the inspector recorded. “The appellant claims that” she continued “as this electronic communication was received outside the recipient’s business hours, it should be considered to have been received on the next working day, that is when deemed discharge would take effect. As a result, this would mean that the Local Planning Authority’s consent, agreement or approval of the submitted details to any matter as required by the conditions would be deemed to have been given, and the Council would be unable to take enforcement action or stop development on site on the basis that the conditions had not been complied with.” On this point the inspector noted “The appellant submits no legal authority to support his claim that the Council’s decision must be received within the recipient’s business hours. Nor is there any legislative provision that I have been made aware of.” She concluded “In the absence of clear and precise evidence demonstrating otherwise, I consider that the Council’s decision was appropriately issued within the prescribed period, before the DDN came into effect.”

Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

The relevant legislation can be found in the Policy and Legislation section of DCP Online.