Dorset Council: Darryl Howells has secured a retrospective planning permission for the retention of two toilet blocks, concrete slabs on which the toilet blocks are sited, extended area of hard surfacing and bin enclosure and foul water drainage, all to be used associated with the stationing of up to five caravans.

The background is that the client started using a field within the ownership boundary of his farm for the purposes of a caravan site.  To facilitate the attraction the client installed the equipment and undertook digging of trenches and the laying of drainage piping.  All the works met the definition of development as defined by the Town & Country Planning Act, but were undertaken without obtaining planning permission beforehand.

Whilst commencing development without first obtaining the relevant Certification or authorisation is not prohibited by the Act, an applicant does so wholly at their own risk and if the Local Planning Authority refuses planning permission to regularise, then the site is liable for enforcement action.  In this case, the site was considered one of high sensitivity as it was within designated Green Belt.

The client approached Darryl following a visit from the Council’s Enforcement Officer whom had received a contravention enquiry from an unknown source. In the first instance, Darryl applied for and secured a Certificate of Lawfulness for the use of the land to be used for the stationing of the caravans (see our earlier post here).  Darryl then applied for the retrospective permissions to regularise the unauthorised works.

During the course of the application’s consideration the planning officer pro-actively worked with Darryl to get it ready for approval under delegated powers. The application originally included reference to a two metre high close boarded fence and oil drum, which the planning officer agreed were permitted development under the Regulations and could be excluded from the application.

If you have undertaking some development activity without the benefit of planning permission being obtained and received a visit from an Enforcement Officer threatening action or seeking a retrospective application, then please contact one of our planning consultants for an open, honest and professional appraisal to explain the implications in light of adopted planning policies and the best approach to resolve the issues raised.