Editor's pick: Framework held no basis to block office change

An inspector has ruled that a Leicestershire council cannot rely on paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in refusing prior approval for conversion of offices to a dwelling.

The site contained a former barn that had been converted to offices. The appellant sought prior approval to convert it to residential use under class J, part 3, schedule 2 of the General Permitted Development Order 1995. The council opposed the proposal on the grounds that the location would be unsustainable, relying on paragraph N of the order.

The inspector ruled that paragraph N is procedural in nature and does not entitle planning authorities to invoke all parts of the NPPF. In accordance with paragraph J, he concluded that only matters covered by the framework relating to highway impact, contamination and flood risk were relevant considerations. He remarked that to allow consideration of the whole framework would defeat the point of the order and introduce uncertainty and delay, contrary to government aims.

Inspector: Jon Hockley; Written representations

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