Planning – Prohibition Cannot Be Inferred

A recent planning law case shows the importance of the wording in planning permissions.

In 2010, planning permission was given for a caravan park. The permission allowed the use of land for the purpose of siting 54 residential caravans for year-round holiday use. The planning permission prohibited the use of the caravans as the principal residence of their owners.

The original application was to '...replace and re-site 40 static caravans and provide 14 additional static caravans (within original area) and ancillary works (partially retrospective) all for year-round holiday use'. In 2012, a further application was submitted to site six more caravans on the site. This was made on the basis that the 2010 application had not included a condition limiting the number of caravans on the site and that case law prevents the implication of a planning condition where no such condition is specified in the description of a development. That application was refused.

The decision to refuse the application was appealed but was upheld by the inspector. The site owner appealed to the High Court, which held that the refusal was incorrect because the original planning permission had not stipulated a limit on the number of caravans that could be put on the site.

The judge commented, "Simply because something is expressly permitted in the grant does not mean that everything else is prohibited." The limitation could not be inferred from the description of the development contained in the original application.

The matter was referred back to the Secretary of State to decide whether the proposed change was a 'material change of use', in which case planning permission would have to be sought.

For advice on the likely impact of planning law on a property you own, or on any property law issue, contact us.


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