Planning Inspector has no discretionary powers to allow a Community Infrastructure Levy appeal based on mitigation

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An appeal was made against a surcharge that was imposed by Maidstone Borough Council for failure to submit a commencement notice before starting works on the development. The appellant accepted that they had not submitted a commencement notice before starting works on the development. However, they argued that they were not correctly advised by their architect who was employed to deal with such matters on their behalf.

The planning inspector had sympathy with the appellants and considered that it was not unreasonable for them to have relied on their architect to help ensure the required procedures were followed correctly.

Whilst the planning inspector accepted that there were mitigating circumstances for failing to submit a commencement notice, the appeal could only be determined on the facts and evidence before the inspector. As there was a clear alleged breach that had occurred, and a failure to submit a commencement notice, the planning inspector had no discretionary powers to allow an appeal based on mitigation. The appeal was, therefore, dismissed.