What is a detailed planning consent?

What is a detailed planning consent?

We all regularly make a distinction between a detailed planning consent and an outline planning consent and know what that means. An outline planning consent is a planning consent that is granted subject to “reserved matters” such as siting and design, layout and landscaping and an outline planning consent can not be implemented until an application covering all of the reserved matters has been submitted and approved by the local planning authority (LPA). What we mean by a detailed planning consent is a planning consent where all the reserved matters have been approved and the development can be implemented.

“In planning law, there is no such thing as a detailed planning consent and this can result in a number of unintended consequences”, advises Mark Sanders of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.

“One of our clients had entered into an option agreement with a developer which gave the developer a defined period of time to purchase some land from our client after obtaining what was described in the option agreement as “detailed planning consent” for residential development. The developer applied for outline planning consent, which the LPA granted. The developer then made a reserved matters application but, because the option period was running out, served notice on our client to purchase the land before the reserved matters application was determined. Our client’s solicitors argued that the developer had not obtained detailed planning consent as set out in the option agreement and could not therefore purchase the land. The dispute that arose went all the way to the court of appeal and our client lost. One of the reasons they lost was that the court decided, based on previous court of appeal decisions, that, because there is no such thing as a detailed planning consent, the developer was entitled to exercise the option following the grant of the outline planning consent, notwithstanding the use of the term “detailed planning consent” in the option agreement”, explains Sanders.

“Another consequence of this point of law is that the approval of a reserved matters application is not the same as the grant of a planning consent. That may seem a simple and obvious statement but, in some cases, it can lead to far from obvious conclusions. We are currently working on a case where this is a key consideration and will report on that next month”, says Sanders.

For further information on any rural planning matters please contact Mark Sanders on 01884 214052 or at marksanders@acornrpc.co.uk

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