Rewriting history

In determining an appeal concerning enforcement action directed at works to a residential property in north-west London an inspector has highlighted that you can’t rewrite history (DCS Number 400-033-667).

Due to a number of departures from the approved drawings the council contended that a 2017 permission had not been implemented and further that it was now time-expired. The inspector, however, had regard to the remarks of the judge in the case of Hussain v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2017]. He ruled that it is possible to commence a development for the purpose of section 56 of the 1990 Act and thereby meet a deadline forming a condition of the permission, and then later to deviate from the permitted works in a manner that later becomes an enforcement issue, without retrospectively altering the fact that the commencement of the development had occurred.

At her site visit the inspector saw that at least some elements of the permitted works had been undertaken in compliance with the permitted plans. The general dimensions of the extensions appeared to comply with the permission and a side entrance door appeared to be in the right place, for example. She was satisfied that, notwithstanding any subsequent deviations from the detail of what was approved, the development authorised by the permission had commenced within the relevant time limit. 

Section 4.5335 of DCP Online concerns enforcement against departure from a permission or approved plans.