A Local architectural consultant had submitted a planning application for the refurbishment of a former farmhouse near Llanrwst in Conwy. However, the Local Planning Authority were of the view that the residential use rights had been abandoned and that the application now constituted the conversion of a disused farm building in to a dwelling.

Owen Devenport were called in to assess the legal and planning implications of the Council's stance. If the LPA were correct, then the application would not accord with their policies and it is unlikely that permission would be forthcoming. However, it was our opinion that in legal terms the residential use had not been abandoned.


Numerous case studies and areas of case law were examined in order to prove that even though the property had been empty for some 50 years this still did not constitute abandonment in the eyes of the Law. A detailed planning statement was put together for the client who then submitted this to the LPA as part of the planning application.

After much deliberation the LPA changed their view and on the evidence of our submission it was accepted that the property still had it's residential use rights and as a consequence, planning permission was granted.


The owner of an empty shop and former office was frustrated at the inability to utilise the building in Abergele. He considered the only way forward was to convert the property into 2 flats and rent them out. His architectural consultant considered that there issues of planning policy to be considered and asked Owen Devenport to provide a planning support statement. This was duly carried out and gave weight to the fact that this property had been marketed for many months and had lain empty for years, without any takers in this depressed economy. There was also evidence of other empty shops in the main shopping zone. After considerable negotiation the Council finally allowed the conversion and the building will now be put to a viable economic use as opposed to deteriorating through non use.

Our client owned a restaurant in Upper Mostyn Street that had a restriction that no takeaway meals were to be provided. An application was made to have this restriction removed but the Local Planning Authority refused permission. In a subsequent appeal Hearing, there were many neighbour objections and the Council felt it would also harm the status of the Conservation Area. The appellant offered to close the take away facility at 11.00pm, but the restaurant had no such restriction. The Planning Inspector however disagreed with the Council that any harm would arise as a result of this takeaway facility. In allowing the appeal he concluded, " The premises already functions as a restaurant and a take-away associated with that use would not undermine the broader aims of (planning) policy. Limiting the opening times...will minimise the adverse impact on occupiers of adjoining properties and preserve the character of the Llandudno Conservation Area."

Denbighshire County Council refused planning permission to change the use of a vacant shop premises into a take away facility. It was their contention that this would be an over provision of 'non-retail' activity in Llangollen town centre. The applicant decided to engage Owen Devenport in the appeal against this decision. A detailed study was prepared by Owen Devenport of the town centre uses as part of the appeal submissions, where it was found that in fact there was not the over-supply of cafes, take aways etc that the Local Planning Authority had suggested. In allowing the appeal the Planning Inspector stated that the survey indicated that the main shopping areas of Llangollen was still dominated by retail (A1) uses and this appeal proposal would not threaten that balance. The shop had also been vacant for some considerable time and the Inspector also felt that in terms of the broader perception of the town centre, the vacant property should be put to beneficial use.

Owen Devenport were instructed to assess the possibilities of extending a small Certificated Location (CL) site in Hen Efail outside Conwy. It appeared that the proposal did conform with policy and so an application was submitted, which had to be termed as a new touring caravan park. A Landscape Architect was brought on board to advise on landscaping and layout, and she ultimately came up with a plan of the proposed site. The application was lodged together with a Planning Support Statement and after much deliberation the application was finally approved in accordance with planning policy by Conwy County Borough Council. And so our client now has a formal approval for a 12 pitch touring caravan park in the picturesque Conwy Valley!


Owen Devenport successfully bid to Llwyddo Yng Ngwynedd to prepare a brochure and website aimed at assisting Gwynedd farmers to diversify. The aim was to cover all the aspects of considering a diversification project, such as funding, financial advice, planning issues, business planning and training. A comprehensive analysis was carried out of all these issues with extensive interviews with all parties concerned. Case Studies were also identified and set out in the brochure as a guide to the pitfalls and successes of existing diversification projects.