Posts Categorized: Opinion

A lose-lose situation






Over the last few decades we have been quietly nursing the opinion that the civil servants charged with drafting planning legislation, before they even consider putting pen to paper or digit to keyboard, should be compelled to serve a period in a local authority planning department. Then, they might gain some insight into the difficulties that can arise for the poor souls who have to put their output into practice.

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Total rubbish






In Important work we expressed astonishment that a S106 planning obligation had been required in order to secure the provision of a wheeled bin. With hindsight, we should have realised that we were only a short trundle away from a situation in which the lack of a S106 planning obligation to secure the provision of a wheeled bin would prevent development. But here we are:-

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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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