The High Court has ruled in favour of a developer which sought prior approval from the local planning authority for its proposed conversion of agricultural buildings to residential use. The prior approval rules are available under permitted development rights.

Local authorities have to make decisions on prior approval within 56 days, however in this case, they requested more time. The applicant initially agreed to the extra time but questioned whether the local authority had the right to this extension.

The local authority subsequently refused the prior approval.

The applicant appealed and the High Court ruled that planning law makes no provision for an extension, so in the absence of the Council refusing prior approval during the 56 days allowed, prior approval would be deemed to be granted at the end of that period.

A definite success for the applicant.

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