Planning Success – Northumberland Permission Lawfully Implemented

We love sharing our success stories with you. This one is a complex case, but shows how having the right person looking at your planning issue is of fundamental importance, for this client Chrissy saved the day!

Planning House have been successful in securing a Certificate of Lawfulness permission for a 6-unit barn conversion scheme in Lowick, which gained planning permission back in late 2013.

The case centred on whether the permission had been implemented (remained extant as we say in the planning world) or had expired.  Chrissy successfully demonstrated, with reference to case law, that the three breached ‘prior to commencement’ type conditions were not ‘true condition precedent’ type conditions as they either did not ‘go to the heart of the permission’ and/or could realistically be resolved after an unrelated part of the development had commenced.

Why was this important?  If development is deemed not to have been lawfully commenced and the period for commencement expires, then the permission will lapse and a new application for the development will need to be submitted.  Think of the expense, time, resources etc involved in starting from scratch!

The Council accepted the conditions argument but initially confirmed that they were going to refuse the certificate application nonetheless, as they considered that the limited amount of works undertaken to the roof of just one of the approved units in November 2016 was simply a repair rather than the ‘commencement of the development’ within 3 years of the permission.

However this was not the case, and we highlighted to the Council that they were incorrectly assessing the roof works as not amounting to ‘operational development’ under Section 55(2)ii of the TCPA rather than assessing whether such, no matter how small, amounted to the start of development approved under the planning permission, as required by Sections 56 of the TCPA i.e. development shall be taken to be begun on the earliest date on which any material operation comprised in the approved development begins to be carried out.  The undertaken roof works clearly formed part of the approved barn conversion scheme; were at least as substantive as works accepted as a commencement in various appeal cases; and, importantly, were evidenced by the dated site notes of the Council’s own Building Control Officer.

This case was ‘won’ with the careful use of case law and appeal references and the client was delighted with Planning House’s assistance!


Related Content:

We know that in this case had the client submitted the application without seeking professional planning help the Certificate of Lawfulness would have been refused.  Our FREE Practical Guide covering the basics of Certificate of Lawfulness is available. 

 If you have received a planning approval it’s essential you know what conditions are attached, what they cover and how they can be complied with.  Read out article Understanding Planning Conditions which details the top 5 things to know about planning conditions.

If you are in need of further assistance, a town planner can provide you with the guidance you need for a smooth transition please feel free to CONTACT US to discuss your situation.