March 27, 2020
The importance for housebuilders of approved plans and discharging conditions
Hume Planning has been successful in negotiating a compromise to avoid the threat of enforcement action to demolish a development (an original permission which Hume Planning had secured) by a family run house-builder in Westgate, comprising 4 buildings and 33 apartments, most of which were occupied when the breach was identified. The buildings occupied a prominent site overlooking the clifftop in the Westgate Conservation Area. The client had relied on certain verbal assurances during the construction stage and taken upon himself to make changes because of structural issues and layout preferences from which lessons have been learned. Working closely with Thanet District Council Planning Officers and Enforcement Team, Hume Planning was able to secure approval for a part-retrospective application under delegated authority once the scale of the changes had been identified. Support from members of the community and local Councillors, which was partly attributable to the house-builder’s track record of building in the area, was also secured during the application process. The approval has ultimately regularised the existing development, subject to adjustments to the external appearance of the buildings, parking and landscaping to improve the relationship of the development with the street-scene and Conservation Area. When the problem was identified this project was a great worry for the Practice and underlines the importance for house-builders and developers involved in land transactions that implementing permissions in accordance with approved drawings and discharged planning conditions is critical if delivery delays are to be avoided in the future.