Planning Court Gives Important Guidance on Class A and the Prior Approval Process

Daniel Stedman Jones acted for the Claimant in a successful challenge to East Dorset DC's purported decision that a proposal that fell outside the terms of Class A was permitted development.

The Interested Party had applied for prior approval for the erection of an agricultural building in part to winter house sheep. Lang J agreed with the Claimant that this fell outside the description permitted under Class A, which among other things did not permit a building for to be used for the accommodation of livestock within 400 metres of protected buildings (including the Claimant's house). Following an assessment of the Interested Party's prior approval application made out of time, the Council purported to determine both that prior approval was unnecessary and that the proposal "constituted" permitted development.

The Council, represented by Philippa Jackson, relied on the Court of Appeal's decision in Keenan v Woking BC [2017] EWCA Civ 438 to submit that an LPA had no power under the GPDO to determine whether a proposal came within the terms of the class, which could be more appropriately done by way of the certificate of lawfulness procedure or, post-hoc, in enforcement proceedings. Lang J, while agreeing with this analysis, found that the Council had nevertheless purported to do just that in its decision notice. Consequently, the notice was quashed.

To view the full judgment, please click here.