On a straightforward reading

Part 20, Class A of the GPDO allows for flat block additions provided that the building was not constructed after 5 March 2018. In deciding an appeal in Reading, however, (DCS Number 400-034-008), an inspector noted that there is no definition within the GPDO of what stage a building needs to be at before it can be considered to be constructed. 

The appeal before the inspector was against the refusal of prior approval for the addition of two storeys to an existing detached block of flats to provide six additional flats. 

The appellant suggested, the inspector recorded, that comparisons could be made with the term ‘substantially completed’ that is used in Section 171B of the Act in the context of planning enforcement. The inspector held, however, that there is a difference between ‘was constructed’ and ‘substantially completed’. He considered that ‘substantially completed’ implies that most of the work has been carried out but construction work is still underway, whereas an ordinary reading of the phrase ‘was constructed’ relates to something that has already taken place.

After considering the evidence and in light of a straightforward reading of the phrase ‘was constructed’, the inspector determined that the building was still under construction after 5 March 2018. He therefore concluded that the proposal would not be permitted development. 

The permitted development classes are set out at section 4.342 of DCP Online.