The future’s Orange

Actually, it’s not, now that Orange UK is firmly in the past and the advert featuring the company’s long-running strapline has been taken off the telly. Nevertheless, the company has left a legacy in Orange Personal Communications Services Ltd. & Ors, R (on the application of) v London Borough of Islington [2006]. This court judgment featured in a recent appeal against the refusal of outline planning permission for the redevelopment of a former Co-op store in the east Midlands with nine dwellings (DCS Number 400-025-646).

In this appeal case, the council had granted prior approval for the demolition of the building on 18 October 2017 under the provisions of Schedule 2, Part 11, Class B of the GPDO. The council explained, however, that an Article 4 Direction, withdrawing permitted development rights under Part 11, had then been issued to try to prevent the demolition of the building. Further, it had designated the town centre as a conservation area where demolition of an unlisted building under Part 11 rights do not apply.

The inspector calculated that the prior approval for the demolition of the Co-op pre-dated both the effective date of the Article 4 Direction and conservation area designation, by around 16 and 17 months respectively. He related that in Orange, having considered the provisions of section 61D of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 which concern the effect of revision or revocation of a development order, the judge ruled that ‘in a prior approval case the planning permission accrues or crystallises upon the developers’ receipt of a favourable response from the planning authority’. On this basis the inspector found that demolition might legitimately be undertaken until 18 October 2022, five years from the date of the prior approval decision. Although previously disputed, that position was now accepted by the council, he noted. Nevertheless, the council went on to contend that it had not been demonstrated that the conversion of the building would be unviable. The inspector reasoned, however, that this point must fall away: if the building were to be demolished it could not be converted.

Allowing the appeal against refusal of outline planning permission, the inspector concluded that a scheme for nine dwellings could come forward which would integrate appropriately with local character and appearance, including historic significance.

The extraordinarily and unnecessarily complicated matter of demolition under the GPDO is addressed in section 4.3427 of DCP Online.