Agreed a time extension on a refused prior approval?

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Have you been refused prior approval for permitted development following an agreed extension of time in the last three years? If so, you may have an implementable planning permission.

The recent decision of the High Court in Warren Farm (Wokingham) Ltd, R (On the Application Of) v Wokingham Borough Council [2019] EWHC 2007 (Admin) has clarified that local councils have no lawful authority to agree an extension of time to consider applications for prior approval under the Town and Country Planning (England) (General Permitted Development) Order 2015. This means any refusal would be out of time and planning permission deemed granted and implementable within three years as at the date 56 days from the prior approval application.

This will likely be warmly welcomed by landowners but make some local councils nervous.

The Warren Farm case

The case concerned Class Q permitted development rights, commonly known as barn or agricultural building conversions to residential. The format of Class Q follows the model of several other permitted development classes which requires an application to the local council for prior approval.

The key provision for non-determination of prior approval is subparagraph (11)(c) of paragraph W (Procedure for applications for prior approval under Part 3). It provides that the development must not begin before the expiry of 56 days following the date on which the prior approval application was received by the local council where such authority has not notified the applicant as to whether prior approval is given or refused.

In the Warren Farm case, the local council had requested and agreed an extension of time to the prescribed 56-day period. Within the agreed time extension, the local council refused the prior approval.

The High Court found that there was no lawful authority to extend the prescribed 56-day period and, as such, deemed that grant of planning permission arose at the expiry of such period. The local council’s refusal was quashed.

Act now

The permitted development rights order prescribes the time period for implementing deemed grants of planning permission. Using the Warren Farm case by example, paragraph Q2(3) provides that “development under Class Q is permitted subject to the condition that development under Class Q(a), and under Class Q(b), if any, must be completed within a period of 3 years starting with the prior approval date”.

Therefore, if within the last three years you have had Class Q prior approval refused by the local council outside the 56-day period during an agreed extension period, then you may have an implementable deemed planning permission.

Getting legal advice

Our Planning team is experienced in permitted development rights and we will be happy to review your case and guide you through your legal options. Therefore, should you require planning legal advice, please contact us on 01733 888888.