‘Fraid we’re not talking about anything sparkly here. No, this is to do with the commencement of development. You might wish to make note of a distinction highlighted by an inspector in a recent appeal (DCS Number 200-007-575).
Posts Categorized: Compare and Contrast
You might think that subterranean development would not conflict with “The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy” which ”is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open” (Paragraph 79 of the NPPF).
In The total effect we reported an appeal case (DCS Number 400-017-236) in which an inspector granted permission for the replacement of an existing dwelling, garage and outbuildings in the green belt with a new larger dwelling. The inspector based his decision on Tandridge DC v SSCLG & Syrett  in which the court held that there is no reason in principle why the objectives of green belt policy cannot be met by the application of the NPPF exception allowed to replacement buildings to a group of buildings as opposed to a single building.
In allowing an appeal against the refusal of permission for the change of use of a semi-detached dwelling on a housing estate in southeast London to a house in multiple occupation (DCS Number 400-017-753) an inspector noted that:
In a recent appeal decision an inspector gives consideration to what makes a condition a true condition precedent (DCS Number 400-016-471).
The case concerns the refusal of a lawful development certificate for the creation of a first floor flat, granted planning permission in 2006. The appellant claimed that the permission had been implemented due to the digging of a trench. The inspector, however, was not satisfied either that the works were done in accordance with the permission or that they were more than de minimis. She explained that even if the digging of the hole had constituted a material operation, it was possible that the permission had expired if there was a failure to comply with a condition precedent before the deadline for commencement of the permission.
In Not quite the same we reported a case (DCS Number 200-006-528) in which an inspector found that an application for approval of reserved matters made pursuant to an outline permission for 20 dwellings would have to be for something numerically close to that number, otherwise it would not be pursuant to the permission.
Despite the withdrawal of the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) in March 2015 an inspector has refused to delete a condition requiring a development in north London to achieve Level 3 of the Code, finding that it was a ‘legacy’ case (DCS Number 400-014-991).
Following the Planning Inspectorate’s apology to Richmond upon Thames council for inconsistent decision-making we are keeping a close eye on inspectors’ conclusions in respect of the requirement for affordable housing contributions on small sites.
Can anyone help out with a definition of ‘complex and strategically important development’?
Two recent appeal decisions have given us pause for thought on this matter. In the first, concerning nine dwellings, the inspector explained that “Paragraph 21a-010-20140306 of the PPG advises that only in exceptional circumstances can a negatively worded condition requiring a planning obligation or other agreement to be entered into before certain development can commence be appropriate such as in the case of more complex and strategically important development where there is clear evidence that the delivery of the development would otherwise be at serious risk. As the proposal is for only nine dwellings I do not consider it to be either complex or strategically important.” Thus, she could only give limited weight to the social benefit of affordable housing (DCS Number 400-014-625). In the second appeal, seeking outline approval for twelve dwellings, the inspector was “satisfied that affordable housing could be secured through the imposition of a planning condition.” (DCS Number 400-014-624).
In Out of sight, out of mind we reported an appeal case in which the inspector cited the Court of Appeal decision in John Turner v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and East Dorset Council . This established that the question of visual impact is implicitly part of the concept of openness of the green belt. We asked whether the effects of the court case have yet to become apparent. Not so much, appears to be the answer, as evidenced by the following recent decisions from two different inspectors.