Hours of use condition imposed too late on barn conversion

Prior approval has been granted for a barn conversion in Dorset after the council conceded that it had issued its decision on the proposal beyond the statutory 56-day time limit.

The application sought permission under class R, part 3, schedule 2 of the GPDO 2015 for a flexible commercial use in the barn. The council’s decision, issued 57 days after receipt of the application, imposed a condition restricting hours of use. The appellant stated that the condition had no legal effect because this decision was out of time. The inspector agreed, noting that the council accepted this claim. The condition did not restrict the use under class R, he confirmed.

A full award of costs was made against the council for unreasonable behaviour. Although the main parties had discussed withdrawing the appeal, this would have prevented the appellant from claiming costs. The appellant had been aware that the decision was issued outside the statutory timeframe but could not be faulted for wishing to appeal, the inspector decided. Had the council issued a decision without the disputed condition, he remarked, there would have been no need for the appeal.

Inspector: Benjamin Webb; Written representations

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