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.

The clients had built a substantial property in the National Park, but which was subject to a local occupancy restriction within a Section 106 Agreement. Owen Devenport were instructed to try and remove this restriction and a formal application to discharge the Section 106 was made. The National Park in Snowdonia refused to discharge the Agreement and after an initial appeal was stopped due to legal issues, a further application was made. A number of more recent case law studies were brought forward as well as recent successes Owen Devenport had had with other Authorities in discharging local occupancy conditions. After years of negotiations the National Park Authority finally agreed to discharge the Section 106 Agreement and leaving our clients with a freehold property unencumbered from any occupancy restriction.

Owen Devenport successfully concluded a 4 year battle to secure consent on a residential site of 8 dwellings in Holyhead. The original application was submitted by another agent in 2008 and a number of issues cropped up during consultation stage. As time went by, the application became increasingly frustrated at the amount of information required by the Local Planning Authority in order for permission to be granted.

The matter was further complicated in that part of the site was outside the adopted development boundary for the town. We were instructed by the applicant in November 2011 and dealt with each of the issues that were complicating the consideration of the application. After, the cooperation and support of the Planning Officer, permission was finally secured in July 2012 for the erection of 8 dwellings much to the relief and satisfaction of our clients.

A property owner in Pwllheli had owned a store just off the main shopping zone for many years. He now wanted to revert to a retail use and contacted Owen Devenport to submit and manage the planning application. A rigorous assessment of the LPA's retail policies identified that this form of development should be encouraged in the Town Centre. Indeed, this proved to be the case and planning permission was granted for the change of use back into a shop and so Pwllheli town centre will shortly have an addition to its retail offering.

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.