Council caravan order backed by inspector

An inspector has backed a council decision to order caravans and storage containers off a building site because its planning permission had lapsed.

The decision from Telford & Wrekin Council has been backed by an inspector
The decision from Telford & Wrekin Council has been backed by an inspector

Plans to convert a derelict building in Cherrington into a usable home were approved in 2014.

In 2020, Telford and Wrekin Council Planning Officers issued an enforcement notice ordering the three mobile homes and two steel containers off the site.

Rules allow mobile homes to be placed at building sites provided the project has planning permission and is being carried out.

In a Planning Inspectorate decision upholding the notice, inspector Martha Savage notes that some work had taken place but “evidence points towards” it being done after the time three-year limit, invalidating the temporary structures.

A design statement supporting the original house conversion application said the three-and-a-half acre Cherrington Lane site was a former brick works and clay pit, and applicant Ian Locke aimed to “utilise the existing building with only minimal extension to provide for a bathroom facility”.

The enforcement notice, issued in July last year, noted that there were three caravans and two steel containers there, and said soil was being imported into the site, raising its ground level in some areas.

Landowner Diane Grigsby, of Newport, appealed against the notice.

“The main trust of the appellant’s case is that the works which have been carried out are in connection with planning permission which was given by the local authority,” Ms Savage writes, adding that that consent included a condition that work would begin “before the expiration of three years”.

She notes that the law defines “material operation” as construction, foundation digging or laying underground pipes or cables.

Ms Savage – who, the report says, visited the site on July 3, 2020 – writes: “Although excavations were evident during my visit, a photograph taken by the council on June 11 indicates they were not present at that time.

“Furthermore, officers of the council visited the site on October 22, 2019, and state that, whilst works to install a drainage system had commenced, no evidence was shown that works to extend the building had commenced.

“Whilst the excavations would constitute a ‘material operation’, the evidence points towards the works being undertaken after the expiration of three years from the date of permission.

“The temporary use of the caravans is asserted to be in order to comply with the Construction and Design Management Regulations which required the provision of adequate welfare units.

“The appellant also asserts there have been several incidents of theft so it is necessary to have a resident security person on-site to prevent further incidents.”

But, she adds, since the 2014 permission is “no longer extant”, the unapproved caravans and containers cannot remain there.

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