Planning Appeal: Inspector should have been told of planning refusal

In Carroll v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & Ors [2015] the Defendant applied for planning permission to change use from office use Class B1 to residential use Class C3. This was refused.

At the time of the refusal the site was in B1 office use, but by the appeal at the centre of this case the offices had been converted to storage under permitted development rights and the building was now in B8 use.

The Defendant made a second planning application for demolition of the existing building and change of use of the land from B8 storage to C3 residential. A planning officer report on the application concluded that the current use was probably B8 and that planning permission should be granted. The council’s agents sent that report to the Planning Inspectorate.

But the Inspectorate was not informed that council members had subsequently rejected the officer recommendation and resolved to refuse the application on the grounds that the scheme was contrary to the Strategic Objective CO2 of the Core Strategy which sought to protect B1 use of floorspace notwithstanding the exercise of permitted development rights.

The Inspector knew of the second planning application for a change of use from B8 to C3, having received a copy of the Officer’s Report enclosed with the council’s agents’ letter. However he was unaware that the Officer’s recommendation was rejected, and that the Second Defendant refused the application or of the reasons for that decision.

The Planning Court ruled that the decision to refuse planning permission for the change of use from B8 to C3 and Strategic Objective CO2 of the Core Strategy were material considerations to which the Inspector should have had regard.

Since the Inspector proceeded to determine the appeal as a B8 to C3 change it was material that the council had just refused a planning application at the Property for just such a scheme. However the Inspector was unaware that the Officers’ recommendation had been rejected and that the Committee had refused the application or why. If the Inspector had seen the council’s decision on the second planning application he would have seen mention of policy CO2 and would have been obliged to have had regard to it.

This blog has been posted out of general interest. It does not replace the need to get bespoke legal advice in individual cases.