Planning Pitfalls: Notifying the Neighbours02 Jan 2018
The High Court has recently overturned a planning permission for the erection of additional floors at a block of flats in central London after concluding that the leaseholder of one of the flats was not notified of the application.
The application was made on behalf of the freeholder to Westminster City Council, the local planning authority, but the freeholder’s planning consultant failed to complete the land ownership and notification requirements correctly. The application form wrongly identified the consultant as the sole owner of the entire site (referred to as ‘Certificate A’) even though he had no ownership interest in the site at all.
Upon discovering the grant of planning permission, the leaseholder of the existing top-floor flat launched judicial review proceedings due to the failure to comply with the mandatory notification requirements set out in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Even though a notice of the application was displayed outside the site, the objector failed to spot it and no other steps were taken to bring the proposal to his attention.
The court concluded that the landowner notification formalities had not been satisfied, overturned the grant of planning permission and ordered the freeholder and its planning consultant to pay legal costs to the objector and the local planning authority in excess of £25,000.
This case amply demonstrates that investigation of the land ownership before making a planning application is not optional and a failure by planning consultants or architects to carry out proper research and notification can lead to significant costs and delay for developers.
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