Article 4 scuppers permitted development conversion plans

An inspector held a London council had been correct in refusing two Class O prior approval applications after an Article 4 direction had taken effect during the fifty-six day period allowed for reaching their decision under the terms of the GPDO.

The appeals concerned prior approval applications relating to the change of use of the first floors of two office blocks to thirty-two flats. Just a week after validating the applications the council confirmed a direction under Article 4 of the GPDO removing the permitted development rights conferred by Class O and refused the applications on this basis. The inspector confirmed that the direction constituted a material change in circumstances and the council’s decision had been correct, also observing that whether there had been a moral obligation to decide the applications earlier within the time allowed for doing so was not a matter for the appeal.

The inspector saw on his site visit that works to implement the conversion of one of the office blocks had already commenced, breaching the requirement for prior approval, such that even had he not found that the council had acted correctly in refusing the applications, this appeal would have had to have been dismissed in any event.

Inspector: Roy Curnow; Written representations

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