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Granted Planning Permission? Make Sure You Stick to the Agreed Design!

RiverThose who manage to obtain planning permission for construction projects are sadly often tempted to build on a wider or taller scale than has actually been permitted. However, as any good lawyer will tell you – and as a High Court decision proved – taking such a course is an invitation to trouble.

A company had been granted consent to demolish a boat house and garage in the grounds of a listed riverside cottage and to replace them with larger structures that served the same purpose. The site was in the midst of a conservation area. A third building, which linked the new structures, was erected without permission. The unauthorised structure meant that the overall floor area of the combined building was 12.8 per cent larger than that which had been permitted.

The local authority refused retrospective planning permission for the development and, on the disputed basis that the entire building was unauthorised, issued an enforcement notice requiring its demolition. After the company appealed to a government inspector, the notice was modified. However, the company was still required to pare back the building to the size originally permitted.

The company had since put in a fresh planning application for what was described as a balcony to link the boat house with the garage. However, the council refused to entertain the application on the basis that the enforcement notice had not been complied with. In dismissing the company’s judicial review challenge to that decision, the Court found that the council was entitled by Section 70(C)(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to decline to determine the application.