Enforcement bid rejected on unfinished dwelling

An inspector has rejected council attempts to ensure that a new dwelling in Bournemouth complies with approved plans, finding that the building simply remains unfinished.

A condition on the 2012 permission required the dwelling to be completed in accordance with plans showing a rendered three-storey building with a hipped slate roof. Work had started on the dwelling in 2013 and the appellant had indicated in correspondence that it would be finished by October 2016. At the time of the appeal, the dwelling had been built up to eaves level but had not been rendered and had a flat hardboard roof covered with plastic sheeting.

The inspector remarked that the disputed condition did not impose a time limit for substantial completion of the dwelling, so the appellant was not bound by his indicated timescale. He noted that the appellant was undertaking the work himself, was limited by restricted hours of working, had recently been made redundant and had to contend with poor weather conditions over the winter months, all of which had slowed progress on the development.

He concluded that the structure was not as shown on the approved plans because it was not finished. His view on this point was reinforced by the fact that the remedial steps specified in the council’s enforcement notice only referred to the positive works needed to ensure compliance with the plans, rather than removal of any unauthorised structures. While recognising that the council and local residents wanted to see the building finished, he found no breach of planning control. Other options to remedy the situation were available under section 94 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, he remarked.

Inspector: Stephen Hawkins; Written representations

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