Office building’s conversion to flats green-lit after High Court challenge

03 Apr 17

Plans to convert a disused former office building near the Olympic Park into flats have been approved as permitted development, after a previous refusal was quashed by the High Court.

 

The proposal, initially filed in July 2015, sought permission to convert an office building into flats. Amid confusion over the total number of flats proposed, the application was refused by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), set up to manage the legacy of the Olympic Park area in 2012. This refusal was quashed by the High Court, and the case was then reviewed by inspector R J Jackson, who considered whether the development would be permitted development, and whether the LLDC had followed proper procedure.

According to the General Permitted Development Order of 2015, buildings can be converted from class B1 (offices) to class C3 (residences). The application building's former B1 classification was disputed by the LLDC, which suggested that the businesses housed within it were part of the financial services sector, making it class A2 and therefore not permitted development. Jackson acknowledged an error by the appellant, who had stated the building was last used in 2000, when it had been secured to prevent further vandalism in 1997. Despite this, he ruled that class A2 buildings must provide services primary “to visiting members of the public”, and with no evidence to suggest this was the case, it should be considered class B1, constituting permitted development.

The question of the LLDC’s conduct rested on the appellant’s submission of application materials variously by post and email at the end of the business week, raising confusion about the time limit within which the LLDC was required to respond. After taking into consideration a number of technical and legal details, Jackson concluded that the LLDC had failed to respond within the proper period, so the appeal was allowed.

Source: Planning Magazine

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