The notice alleged that a change of use of the rear part of the premises from a shop to the storage and hire of equipment had occurred. The council argued that the whole site including the frontage building was being used as a commercial plant hire operation and wanted to extend the area covered by the notice. The appellants sought a formal ruling from the inspector at the start of the inquiry, arguing that it was a nullity or invalid.
The inspector noted that the notice as drafted emphasised storage with associated equipment hire and related only to the rear of the premises, not the entire site. In her opinion, it was inappropriate for the council to refer to previous documentation that it claimed identified the alleged breach of control and the planning unit. The notice was a legal document that had to be clear and extrinsic material was inadmissible, she opined.
With this in mind, she decided that the alleged breach of control set out in the notice and its requirements for improving the situation were unclear. This confusion was recognised by the council, which asked for a chance to rewrite it. The inspector found this unacceptable and ruled that the notice was beyond correction.
DCS Number 100-050-446
Inspector Bridget Campbell; Inquiry.