Casebook: Development Control Casebook Forum

E-mail your queries, or your replies to earlier queries, to casebook@haynet.com.

Alternatively, post them to Development Control Casebook Forum, Development Control Services Ltd, Suite 1, Fullers Court, 40 Lower Quay Street, Gloucester GL1 2LW or fax them to 01978 869355.

NEW QUERIES

What are the rules about consulting or notifying others when changes are made to an application before it has been decided? If the amendment is minor, authorities often do not further consult or notify third parties.

More significant amendments, perhaps resulting in revised drawings, would appear to warrant at least a letter to consultees and to any person who has commented on the original application, but this does not always happen.

I cannot find anything in the General Development Procedure Order 1995 that addresses this matter. Is there a threshold above which changes would be so significant as to warrant a new application altogether?

Circular 15/92 explains that there is no statutory obligation on planning authorities to publicise changes to applications once they have been accepted as valid, even though such matters are often of most concern to objectors.

The circular adds that there needs to be a balance between considerations of cost, speed of decision-making and opportunity for public comment.

It will therefore be at the planning authority's discretion to decide whether further publicity is desirable. Councils need to take into account whether:

- Substantial objections raised at an earlier stage are sufficient to justify further publicity.

- The proposed changes are significant.

- Earlier views cover the revised matters.

- Such matters are likely to be of concern to parties not previously notified.

No guidance is offered on what constitutes a "significant" change. Clearly this is a matter for the professional judgement of the planning officer dealing with the application. A review of publicity requirements commissioned by the ODPM and published in June (Planning, 2 July, p2) examines current practice. Its recommendations include greater use of online publicity.

My authority has received an application for a lawful development certificate for two proposed dormers in the side-facing roof slopes of a detached bungalow. Most of the criteria in class B, part 1, schedule 2 of the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) 1995 are satisfied. However, a free-standing garage within 5m has been linked to the dwelling by a single-storey extension. The cubic capacity of the garage and extension exceeds 70m3. I take the view that outbuildings should not normally be taken into account in class B, but am unsure as to whether the linking extension effectively makes the garage an extension in itself. Is permission required for the dormer windows?

A similar issue was considered in a recent appeal from Surrey. The inspector accepted that class A, part 1, schedule 2 of the order has no direct application to proposals for dormer windows in a roof, which he agreed fell in class B. In view of the definition of "resulting building" under paragraph I of part 1, he felt it necessary to take any enlargement of the original dwellinghouse under class A into account in deciding whether the overall permitted development allowance would be exceeded.

In calculating this, the inspector felt that paragraph A.3(b) was relevant.

This provides that where any part of the dwellinghouse would be within 5m of an existing building in the same curtilage, that building shall be treated as forming part of the resulting building. However, he held that this applies only where a dwellinghouse is extended to within 5m of a building, reducing the intervening distance. If the same approach is taken here, it follows that the dormer windows would require permission.

A householder was granted permission for a two-storey rear extension.

Following complaints, the planning authority argued that because roof lights were installed in the extension before it was completed as approved, the householder could not rely on rights under class C, part 1, schedule 2 of the GPDO. It claimed that a new permission was necessary to retain the roof lights. This was granted subject to a condition requiring the use of fixed panes and obscure glazing. However, the view from the roof lights is restricted by their position and tree screening and the nearest neighbouring property is 18m away. If an appeal is lodged against the condition, could the decision affect the whole permission? AN.

Under section 79 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the secretary of state is able to determine an application as though it had been made to him in the first instance. He may reverse or vary any part of the authority's decision, even if it relates only to a condition.

The theoretical possibility of losing the permission altogether can only be avoided if, instead of appealing against the authority's decision, the householder were first to apply for the condition to be removed under section 73 and, if that is refused, appeal to the secretary of state.

In your case, however, it seems highly unlikely that an inspector would reverse the authority's decision completely and refuse permission. The more likely outcomes are that the inspector would allow the appeal and delete the condition or dismiss the appeal but grant permission with a similar condition. PM.

PREVIOUS QUERIES

In reply to a query by DW (Planning, 15 October, p25), PM stated that a local authority has no discretion to accept a resubmission of an application without a further fee if it is made more than 12 months after the date on which the original application was withdrawn.

- My understanding is that regulation 8(2)(a)(i) of the Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications) Regulations 1989 provides that the second application must be made within 12 months of the date when the earlier application was made, not when it was withdrawn.

- You are correct. The regulations stipulate an earlier starting date for the 12-month period following an application that has been withdrawn than for one that has been refused, where the period runs from the date of the decision. The reason for this difference is unclear.


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