Prior approval for demolition procedure unnecessary

An inspector has concluded that he could take no further action in respect of an appeal in north London which sought prior approval for the means of demolishing two villas under Class A of Part 31 to Schedule 2 of the GPDO 1995. In so ruling a full award of costs was made in favour of the appellant.

Planning permission had been granted at appeal in September 2014 for the redevelopment of the site to enable 12 residential units to be erected. Prior to the decision the appellant had submitted an application for prior approval in April 2014 which the council subsequently refused on the basis that there was insufficient information to enable consent to be granted. The appellant subsequently wrote to the council seeking clarification on what additional information was required but no response was received.

The inspector noted that paragraph A.3(a) of the order defined demolition which was excluded from the terms of Class 31. This included land which was subject to a planning permission for the redevelopment. Since permission for redevelopment had been consented in September 2014 the demolition of the two villas did not fall within the terms of Class 31 and prior approval for the method of demolition was not required.

In deciding that the council had acted unreasonably in refusing prior approval in May 2014 the inspector ruled that the council had failed to communicate effectively with the appellant and had not sought to clarify the nature and extent of additional information which was required. The appellant had been willing to submit a second application for prior approval but the failure of the council to respond to his letter meant that an appeal became unavoidable. In his opinion the council had sufficient time to undertake internal consultations on the scheme and once it had identified a need for further information on demolition management, air quality, vibration and restoration, this could have been dealt with in a revised submission.

Inspector: Thomas Shields; Written representations

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