Dairy conversion lawfulness case fails

An inspector has refused to issue a lawful development certificate confirming that planning permission granted in 2001 for the conversion of a former dairy in mid Wales remains extant due to a failure to comply with two conditions.

The inspector accepted that the breaking up of a concrete floor after permission was granted amounted to a material start to development. The appellant also argued that a plan submitted with the application detailing new wooden floor joists accorded with the permission. The council asserted that even if development had commenced, the appellant had failed to secure its agreement on details of foul sewage treatment and landscaping.

The inspector noted a planning officer's sworn evidence that he had never received a plan indicating the appellant's proposal to provide a cesspit. He also ruled that a plan indicating site levels and the location of existing trees and hedgerows did not amount to a landscaping scheme. Because both of these matters had to be approved by the council before the development could proceed, he concluded that breaking up the floor did not ensure that the permission remained extant.

He rejected the appellant's arguments that compliance with the two conditions did not require specific written approval from the council. He noted the ruling in Leisure Great Britain v Isle of Wight Council [1998] that compliance with conditions could be achieved where a local planning authority has agreed to work commencing or where a condition has been met in substance. Neither of these exceptions applied to the case before him, he decided.

DCS Number 100-050-830

Inspector Tim Morgan; Inquiry.

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