Further ‘required’ reading

An inspector has quashed an enforcement notice requiring the removal of a marketing suite at a care development under construction in south London, after finding it to be permitted development (DCS Number 400-024-944).

The inspector recorded that, pursuant to Article 3 and Schedule 2, Part 4, Class A of the GDPO, the provision on land of buildings, moveable structures and other items which are required temporarily in connection with, and for the duration of, works being or to be carried out on the land in question, or adjoining that land, is permitted development. There was no dispute that all of the 18 site cabins at the site were used in association with the construction of the development. Most of them were used for site office or builders’ welfare purposes and the council accepted that these were permitted development.

The inspector noted that the dispute was whether the three marketing suite site cabins were permitted development. The marketing suite cabins, she observed, were used as a show flat and as a mock flat for tradespeople to see the intended finish standard, along with a small office and sales area. She referred to case law which indicates that there is no reason to adopt a restrictive interpretation to what is permitted development under Part 4, Class A, bearing in mind that the buildings or structures are only permitted temporarily. She explained that ‘required’ is taken to mean what is reasonably considered essential. It does not therefore mean ‘absolutely necessary’, she continued, and nor does it mean merely desirable or convenient. It must genuinely be reasonably required, as outlined in the Wilsdon judgment (R (on the application of Wilsdon) v First Secretary of State [2006]).

The council accepted that the other 15 cabins were permitted development because of their purpose, together with their proximity to the development site under construction, the inspector remarked. She reasoned that the appeal cabins were in the same location and their purpose clearly had a connection with the works being carried out pursuant to the planning permission in that they were being used for marketing of the units being constructed. Moreover, she noted, the development would provide extra-care units for people over 55 years of age. Having the show flat and sales area in one location, and located where the homes would be built, enabled these people to see the finish of the flats, location of the development and discuss and complete the purchase in one location, avoiding the need for additional travel. She further noted that the marketing suite was required in its location because it would not be safe to have a show flat on site due to site constraints and safety considerations.

The council argued that if the speed and safety of construction were intended to justify a Class A building, this would be explicitly stated in Class A. The inspector pointed out, however, that Class A does not prescribe or constrain the reasons why or circumstances in which buildings may be ‘required temporarily’ in connection with and for the duration of operations. It seemed to her that site cabins are typically required to ensure that construction works are completed in a timely and safe manner but, in any event, neither speed, safety nor any needs for marketing the development being constructed are precluded by law from making a building reasonably required and permitted development under Class A.

The inspector concluded that the marketing suite was required temporarily in connection with the building operations being carried out and was therefore permitted development.

Section 4.3424 of DCP Online covers the permitted development rights applying to temporary buildings.