Permission had been granted in 2008 allowing two years for commencement, even though the standard period at the time was five years. The reporter surmised that the condition stemmed from a local plan policy stating that such conditions could be imposed on permissions for residential development outside housing investment focus areas. Its aim was to ensure that housing land supply was managed and demand focused on areas that would benefit most from development.
The reporter appreciated that time limits sought to enable planning authorities to review unimplemented permissions in the light of changing circumstances and policies. However, he referred to Circular 4/1998's advice that renewal of permissions should only be refused where there has been some material change in planning circumstances, where continued failure to implement the development is unlikely or where the permission still has a reasonable time to run.
The development plan context was the same as when permission was granted, he noted. However, the council argued that circumstances had changed in that nearby housing sites were being developed. The reporter reasoned that the appeal site permission had not hindered development of these sites and saw no evidence that it had had any impact on development in housing investment focus areas.
The appellant explained that implementation had been delayed because of the adverse financial position of recent years but a building company now wished to develop the site. The reporter remarked that the effect of the recent recession on house building activity is well known. Noting that one of the reasons for imposing the two-year condition was to remove a derelict site, he found it very difficult to see what benefit would be served by refusing a further reasonable period to get its redevelopment off the ground.
DCS Number 100-069-053
Reporter Michael Shiel; Written representations.