To an extent, the role of the planning system is to provide certainty to the development industry. Accordingly, it is always rather lovely to see consistency in decision-making, and it appears that inspectors are currently singing from the same hymn sheet with regard to the interpretation of planning conditions.
Posts Categorized: Current thinking
Or, you can find big stuff in little stuff. Not a very scholarly translation, admittedly, but multum in parvo neatly sums up the significance of punctuation in planning policy and decision making.
Readers working in holiday areas might be interested in an appeal by a holiday caravan site on the Kent coast, in which they sought the reduction of their closed period from two months to two weeks (DCS Number 400-015-300). Planning authorities will often resist such proposals on the grounds that the use becomes tantamount to residential occupation. Whilst the inspector in this case rejected that argument he nevertheless dismissed the appeal on the novel grounds that permanent local residents ought to be allowed some peace and quiet during the winter months.
As we know, powers under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 may be exercised only in the interests of amenity and public safety.
In the old days, when we were safe and life was simple, public safety considerations nearly always related to whether an advertisement would prove to be a distraction to motorists. Following recent violent incidents in London and elsewhere it seems that we live in a different world now.
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).
In GPDO overrides use condition we reported an appeal case in which an inspector found that a condition stating that ‘the premises shall be used only for purposes falling within Class B1’ did not prevent the exercise of GPDO rights to convert the former barn to a dwelling. A recent court case, Dunnett Investments Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 29/3/17 appears to support his view.
In See you in court we reported East Hertfordshire council’s intention to challenge an inspector’s decision to overturn its refusal of prior approval for a residential barn conversion under Class Q of the GPDO. They did, they lost.
Valued. That’s the word we are having trouble with. In Value judgments we asked how to recognize a ‘valued landscape’ in relation to Paragraph 109 of the NPPF. In Paragraph 70 we meet ‘valued’ again:
For those of us who thought that the decision in Oxfordshire County Council v Secretary for State for Communities and Local Government and others  had settled the argument about whether councils are entitled to claim monitoring fees in relation to Section 106 agreements, the inspector’s decision in (DCS Number 200-006-210) makes discomfiting reading.
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.