“Two contrasting approaches from different Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) have caused us recently to consider what works are required to implement a planning consent”, says Mark Sanders of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.
“In 2018 we obtained planning permission for the conversion and redevelopment of a workshop to a dwelling. The usual three year period to implement the planning consent applied, and our clients wished to carry out sufficient work to implement the planning consent before the planning consent expires”, explains Sanders.
“As with all planning matters, what works are required to implement a planning consent is a matter of fact and degree but the starting position is Section 56 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (the Act) which states that, if a planning consent involves both a change of use and what the Act describes as “the carrying out of operations”, then development begins when the change of use is instituted or when “any material operation comprised in the development begins to be carried out”, whichever is earlier.
In our case, the change of use to a dwelling can not begin until the works of conversion have been completed. We therefore advised our clients to commence the building works by demolishing the floor slab and an internal wall in part of the building. They hired a mini-digger with a concrete breaker and a dumper truck and, when the work had been done, we sent photographs to the LPA and asked them to confirm that they agreed that, in the words of the Act, development had begun”, continues Sanders.
“The initial response from the LPA was that it did not consider that the works were “development” within the meaning of Section 55 of the Act and, therefore, that the development had not begun. We referred them to the decision of a different LPA that had come to the opposite conclusion in very similar circumstances, and, after a further review, they agreed with us and reminded themselves of a leading court case where the judge had confirmed that “planning permissions with only a meagre part implemented are hardy beasts with a great capacity for survival. All that is required is that the works must comprise part of the development authorised by the planning permission and be more than de minimis”, concludes Sanders.
For further information please contact Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 212380.