Thursday, 4 February 2010

Barny Armey needed to enforce planning

The advice by the Court of Appeal in their decision against the council in Welwyn Hatfield Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government was that local planning authorities need to look carefully at the inside of buildings, not just at the exterior, when determining whether a building has been constructed and used in accordance with planning permission.

In this fascinating case, the Court of Appeal allowed a landowner's appeal and held that the landowner was entitled to a certificate of lawfulness even though landowner confirmed in his evidence to the planning inspector that he had deliberately deceived the council when applying for planning permission.

Having obtained planning permission for a hay barn, a landowner constructed a building that externally looked like a barn but which was internally fitted out as a dwelling house. The landowner and his wife lived in the building for four years before applying for a retrospective planning permission.

Is it really reasonable to expect the local authorities at a time when they are expected to cut costs to have an army of planning officers to be knocking on peoples doors to check that works comply with planning permission. Surely individuals need to take some degree of responsibility ? Am I alone in my thinking here ?

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