Property owner Suzanne Winters had applied to the London Borough of Havering for prior approval in respect of a proposed six-metre extension to her home in Wingletye Lane, Hornchurch.
A neighbour objected and the council refused the application on the basis that the extension would be an obtrusive and overbearing feature amidst domestic rear gardens. It was unacceptable by reason of is scale, bulk and mass and would impact on the amenity and outlook of neighbours, the council found.
The London borough had notified Winters of its decision a day after the expiry of a 42-day determination period.
However, her appeal against that decision was dismissed by a planning inspector in January last year on the basis that work on the extension had commenced before she lodged her application with the council.
In rejecting her challenge to the inspector’s ruling, Mr John Howell QC, sitting as a deputy High Court judged, reached what he described as the "unsurprising" conclusion that a developer cannot lawfully apply for prior approval in respect of a development that has already begun.
The inspector had seen a newly constructed wall and brick footings during a visit to the site and had fulfilled his investigatory duty in concluding that the development had already commenced.
Winters v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & Anr. Case Number: CO/941/2016
source: Planning Magazine