A planning inspector was correct to issue a certificate of lawful use to the owner of a garden centre, enabling it to sell an unrestricted range of retail goods. The objection of the local planning authority (LPA) that such a use would breach a condition attached to the original grant of planning permission was rejected by the High Court.
Planning consent for the garden centre had been granted subject to a condition that details of the proposed types of products to be sold on the premises should be submitted to and agreed to in writing by the LPA. The owner of the business duly submitted a list of products however the LPA did not provide its written agreement.
The LPA had subsequently refused to certify that the garden centre could be used as a general retail shop or for any other purpose within class A1 of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987. However, the owner of the garden centre successfully appealed against that decision and such a certificate was granted by a government planning inspector.
In dismissing the LPA’s appeal, the High Court ruled that the inspector had been right to conclude that, on a correct interpretation of the planning condition, it did not contain a prohibition on the sale of goods other than those which had appeared on the list that had been submitted to the LPA. The wording of the condition did not require it to be construed as including an implementation, enforcement or prohibition clause and the inspector had rightly concluded that, in the circumstances, the requirements of the condition had been discharged.