A derelict property was originally converted into a dwelling in the 1980's with an agricultural occupancy condition which was also backed up by a Section 52 legal agreement that also restricted occupancy in this way. The client wanted to remove the restriction as this affected value and the ability to sell the property. Indeed neither he or the original owner had ever worked in agriculture. Following a Legal Opinion from a Planning Barrister, instructed through Owen Devenport it was decided to request that the legal agreement be discharged, particularly in the light of later evidence that brought to attention a recent permission allowing the conversion without any of the original occupancy restrictions. It was clear that the legal agreement served no planning purpose and the Local Planning Authority had little option but to discharge the restriction. The dwelling is now totally unencumbered and retains a proper open market value.
The operators of a successful rural enterprise, Llaniestyn Autos, wanted to apply for planning permission to replace their existing caravan/chalet on the site. This had been given permission over 10 years ago and was linked to the business There was a case that the proposal was merely replacing an existing residential unit for another and that it was in line with the thrust of policy governing rural enterprise dwellings. An application was submitted with all the necessary evidence and statements concerning policy, but the proposal, surprisingly, met with resistance from the officers of the Local Planning Authority. However after persuasive arguments and assistance from their local Councillor, the Council finally granted permission. The result will be a much improved structure, far more sustainable than the old caravan/chalet and a more comfortable family home for the applicant and his young family. It was difficult to undestand what the objection was from officers, but fortunately common sense prevailed and the client was delighted with the outcome.
An appeal against Conwy County Borough Council was successful for the redevelopment of the famous old Imperial Hotel in the centre of Colwyn Bay. Having been empty on the upper floors for years the building was rapidly deteriorating and had not been used as a hotel for some 30 years. Nevertheless the Council, somewhat to the bemusement of our client (and ourselves) wanted it retained as a hotel and were objecting on conservation and regeneration grounds for the conversion of the upper floors into residential accommodation.
The owner decided not to wait for the Council's decision and opted to appeal against the Council's 'non-determination' of the application. The matter went to an Informal Hearing and in the lead up to the Hearing itself the Council's officers indicated that if the appeal was successful they would insist upon a 'commuted sum' of money for their Open Space provision. This equated to a figure of £6,800.
The opportunity arose however to question this payment and the need for such a large sum of money towards a residential facility so close to very many other open spaces and play areas. Even though the appellant agreed to prepare a legal undertaking should this sum of money be necessary the Planning Inspector agreed with our arguments, not only on the acceptability of the development itself but also on the lack of evidence justifying the need for this payment of funds to the Council. The appeal was allowed and the commuted sum payment was set aside, resulting in an important and significant victory for our client.
Planning permission was granted for 20 log cabins near Holyhead, Anglesey. However the permission contained a condition restricting the use of the cabins, so that they could not be sold off individually. Following our involvement with another similar development and restriction - which was expunged on appeal, with costs - we advised the new client to apply for a new planning permission to have the offending condition removed as it was ultra vires. The Local Planning Authority agreed and removed the offending condition in a renewed planning permission. This now makes the development more viable for the client and will allow him to re-assess the development in the light of this decsion by the Local Planning Authority.