In a case which underlined the need to take professional advice when dealing with planning authorities, a property owner has been ordered to demolish a two-storey extension which he built without authority.
In a forlorn attempt to escape the dire consequences of his mistake, the owner had sought retrospective planning consent for the basement and ground-floor extension. However, that was refused by the local authority, which issued an enforcement notice requiring restoration of the building to its former condition.
That decision was upheld by a planning inspector who said that the development would cause unjustified harm to an urban conservation area and the living amenity of neighbouring residents. The works carried out also threatened to adversely affect underground drainage and the structure of adjoining buildings.
In challenging that ruling, the owner argued that the inspector could have taken the less draconian step of requiring modifications to be made to the extension rather than its total demolition. However, the High Court could detect no error of law in the inspector’s approach. Arguments that the enforcement notice was invalid due to a lack of reasoning were also rejected.