DC Casebook: Housing: New build - Housing estate completion ruled lawful

An inspector has decided that a planning permission granted in 1995 for a housing estate in a Devon town has been lawfully implemented, entitling the appellants to complete a second phase of the development scheme.

The site comprised part of a much larger area of land that had been granted permission for housing and open space. The appellants maintained that the second phase was started by the provision of services to the appeal site and the laying out of the open space. The council argued that the works were carried out before various conditions had been discharged, rendering completion of the second phase of development unlawful.

The inspector judged that the services provided were insufficient to constitute a material start to the second phase of development. A drain had been provided around 50cm into the appeal site and a telephone substation had been installed, she found. However, she saw no evidence of an electricity line or other services leading into the site. In her opinion, the works were very limited in extent and a legacy of development that had already occurred in the first phase.

However, she found in favour of the appellants in respect of the provision of open space. The evidence indicated that open space had been provided at the appeal site in accordance with the 1995 permission, she held. Since a material operation within the meaning of section 56(4) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 could include a material change of use of land, she decided that this had triggered the lawful implementation of the second phase of development once the relevant conditions had been discharged.

DCS Number 100-058-453

Inspector Gloria McFarlane; Inquiry.

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