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Occupant of BT Repeater Station Must Move Out

A man who says that he has lived for more than a decade in a converted British Telecom repeater station has failed in a High Court challenge to a planning inspector’s order that his residential use of the premises must cease.

The man had been served with a local authority enforcement notice requiring him to give up occupation of the repeater station. His appeal was subsequently dismissed by the inspector, who found that his use of disused commercial premises as his living space amounted to a breach of planning control.

He had argued that his residential use of the repeater station had become immune from planning control as he had been in occupation for more than four years before the notice was issued. However, the inspector found that he had intended to hide his occupation of the premises from the authorities during the relevant period.

The Court was not satisfied that what he had done amounted to ‘positive deception’, although he had ‘taken care to keep the residential use of the property to himself’. In dismissing his appeal, however, the Court noted that it was for the inspector to weigh up the evidence and found that her decision was a rational exercise of planning judgment.