Make your mind up planning officer tells agent in mobile home dispute ‘as I need to get on with other work’

PUBLISHED: 15:16 12 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:16 12 August 2020

Flight Farm in Stretham Station Road, Wilburton, has a mobile home and wanted East Cambridgeshire District Council to confirm a certificate of lawful development.Picture; GOOGLE

Flight Farm in Stretham Station Road, Wilburton, has a mobile home and wanted East Cambridgeshire District Council to confirm a certificate of lawful development.Picture; GOOGLE

Archant

A planning officer caught up in correspondence with an agent over a mobile home told him to get an issue sorted as “I need to get on with other work”.

Flight Farm in Stretham Station Road, Wilburton, has a mobile home and wanted East Cambridgeshire District Council to confirm a certificate of lawful development.

In other words, it had been there longer than 10 years, they claimed, and therefore were entitled to permanent permission.

“Approval was granted for the temporary use (three years) in 2006 and the use has continued, uninterrupted, in the 14 years since,” said the applicants.

However East Cambs Council said it “does not demonstrate, on the balance of the probability, that a certificate should be issued.”

Planning consultant Dan Smith, on behalf of the council, said that “when considering application for certificates to demonstrate a continuing breach of planning control, it’s not appropriate, in my opinion, for officers of the local planning authority to accept additional information in a piecemeal fashion.”

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Neither was it his job to make suggestions on additional evidence which might be submitted to ‘getting an application over the line’”.

He said to do so risks the local planning authority taking a supportive role line establishing that breaches of planning control are immune from enforcement which is inappropriate given the LPA’s statutory role in enforcing against such breaches

He wrote: “Rather it is your role, as agent, to make the best case possible for your client, given the evidence and options available to you and to submit that case in full.

“I hope this explanation is clear. I need to get on with other work now, so please feel free to advise me by the end of the day on the determination of withdrawal of the application”.

Agent Kevin Watts of Lakenheath, on behalf of the applicant Steve Kirby, told Mr Smith he was “disappointed” not to be able to offer greater information.

“I have done this on many occasions with planning applications in the past,” their correspondence reveals on the planning portal of East Cambs Council.

Mr Watts admitted defeat and decided to temporarily withdraw the application.

”The applicant and I will collect and collate further ‘evidence’ with a view to resubmitting asap,” he said.


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