A light touch is one thing but you can go too far.

In dealing with an appeal relating to a prior approval application for a rear extension to a house in southeast London under Part 1, Class A of the GPDO (DCS Number 400-024-852) an inspector pointed out that the plans do not need to be drawn to scale.

The council’s decision notice stated that it had refused prior approval because of inconsistent information regarding the maximum depth of the proposed extension; the extension drawn on the block plan measured 4.78m whereas it was stated as being 5m. However, “Be that as it may”, the inspector remarked, “paragraph A.4(2)(b) does not require the plan to be drawn to any scale.” He explained that the plan needed only to indicate the site and show where the proposed extension was to be located; the actual dimensions of the proposed extension were required to be stated in writing under A.4(2)(a), which the appellant had done. The inspector noted, in addition, that the appellant had also submitted detailed drawings, which clearly indicated that the extension would project 5m. Thus, he ruled, precise accuracy of the delineation of the extension on the block plan was not critical. Accordingly, he found that the council’s stance on the matter was incorrect and that prior approval should not have been refused for the reason given on the decision notice.

As planners, perhaps we should be expected to understand this situation, but isn’t it an oversimplification of the usual requirements which has the potential to cause confusion for anyone else?

Commentary regarding Part 1 of the GPDO can be found at section 4.3421 of DCP Online.