Prior approval claim held invalid after school start

A prior approval application for a free school in Greater Manchester cannot be approved because the use has already commenced, an inspector has determined.

200-008-033 (Image Credit: Bolton MBC)
200-008-033 (Image Credit: Bolton MBC)

The appellants asserted that temporary use of the office building as a school was permitted development under class T, part 3, schedule 2 of the GPD 2015. Despite being invited to withdraw the appeal, they decided to go ahead. Citing Winters v SSCLG and London Borough of Havering [2017], the inspector held that prior approval cannot be given for a development that has already commenced. The fact that the school had opened under a temporary use permitted by the GPDO which had now expired made no difference to this position, he held.

The inspector accepted that, had the building reverted to its lawful office use, the situation would have been different. He was not persuaded that the ruling in Marshall v East Dorset District Council [2018], which suggested that the decision-maker did not have the power to determine whether a proposal is permitted development, was relevant. That case, he observed, related to an agricultural development under part 6 of the GPDO and was not subject to paragraph W.3, which allows refusal where a proposed development does not fall within a permitted development right.

Inspector: Michael Boniface; Hearing

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