Posts Categorized: Opinion

Important work






Taken from a recent appeal decision (DCS Number 400-014-884):-

“A signed and completed S106 Unilateral Undertaking has been submitted by the appellant. It would secure financial contributions from the appellant of £73.65 towards the provision of wheeled bins for the development. The Huntingdonshire Developer Contributions SPD 2011 sets out the requirements and justification for Council to secure contributions towards appropriate householder waste storage containers on development sites. I therefore agree that a contribution would be necessary, directly related, and fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the proposed development, in accordance with Community Infrastructure Levy Regulation 122, and Paragraph 204 of the Framework.”

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Must try harder






The Blog recently reported a case in which an inspector was scathing about a council’s failure to substantiate a costs claim. It gets worse! In the appeal reported in First written warning the council did at least argue its case in relation to the unauthorised development. In a more recent case, however, (DCS Number 400-014-612) the council hasn’t even troubled to do that much. The inspector’s decision was short, and consists of little more than his findings that: the appellants were of the view that the extension would be lawful because the operations proposed would be permitted development; the council had not provided any justification as to why the appellants’ contentions were not correct; having had regard to the GPDO he agreed with the appellants. Unsurprisingly, the inspector awarded costs against the council. He found that the council had failed to:

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First written warning






Rumour has it that planners have a tendency to keep quiet about their profession at parties, and given some of our colleagues’ behaviour on occasion it isn’t hard to see why the public perception of the planning profession is not always as elevated as it might be. Three cheers to the planning inspector who recently upbraided a council for its poor behaviour in making an unsubstantiated costs claim.

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Born in a barn






In Defending the sustainability test for barn conversions the Blog highlighted the illogicality of there being different sustainability criteria for barn conversion proposals according to whether they require prior approval or planning permission. In a recent case in Sussex (DCS Number 400-014-208) the appellant succeeded in using the fallback of a prior approval for residential conversion of a barn as a lever to gain planning permission for replacement with a new dwelling, and in so doing showed just how pointless this difference in treatment is.

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Defending the sustainability test for barn conversions






Planning permission for a barn conversion in Gloucestershire has recently been turned down at appeal, the inspector finding that it was located in an unsustainable location (DCS Number 200-005-778). The inspector found a high probability that there would be a high dependency on the private car to access services and on that basis the proposal would conflict with local plan policy.

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Housing land shortage leads to lifting of holiday homes restriction






The scenario described in (DCS Number 400-013-674) must be common to a number of holiday mobile home parks up and down the country: “…the appellant claims that the units have never been available to rent by third parties as short-term holiday accommodation…” and “…the site lacks the kind of shared facilities one would normally associate with a holiday park.” This appeal sought the removal of the condition which limited the mobile homes to occupation for holiday purposes.

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Weasel words






An appeal decision relating to the refusal of outline permission for “exemplar sustainable self-build development” in Cornwall shows that it takes more than vocabulary to gain permission for housing outside a development boundary (DCS Number 400-013-227).

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What a waste






What a waste of human endeavour. An inspector has upheld an enforcement notice requiring the removal of a pair of gates over 1m in height and 2.5m from the highway at a house in Surrey, finding that planning permission was required (DCS Number 400-012-202).

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PPS7 Annex A – gone but not forgotten






A recently decided appeal relating to a proposed farm worker’s dwelling in the county of Durham (DCS Number 200-005-060) brings us back to a Blog from February Nearly four years on and deleted guidance is still in use. In that Blog we noted inspectors’ unwillingness to let go of Annex A to PPS7 notwithstanding that this guidance has been deleted. In the Durham appeal the inspector noted that no accounts had been submitted to confirm the viability of the farm business. The appellant argued, however, that the Embleton Parish Council & Anor, R v Gaston [2013] case concluded that there is no need to produce financial justification for a farm dwelling. The inspector acknowledged that this judgment highlights that the test under paragraph 55 of the NPPF is different from that under Annex A of PPS7, in that it simply requires a judgement of whether the proposed agricultural enterprise has an essential need for a worker to live there or not. Nevertheless, she recorded that there is no indication that in making that judgement, the decision-maker does not need to take any account of financial evidence, and in fact in the Embleton case financial evidence had been submitted by various parties to the decision-maker.

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