Planning permission

A planning decision taken by Bolton Council has recently hit the national headlines. Planning permission was granted in 2014 for conversion of a former farmhouse and a further 4 luxury houses to be built. Unfortunately for many concerned, the dwellings were not built in accordance with the approved plans. Some of the dwellings were up to a third bigger than the approved plans and were in different locations than specified on the original plans.

An appeal to allow the properties to remain as built was dismissed and the properties have been demolished by contractors. The saga will continue because some of the property owners have submitted applications to rebuild dwellings on the site.

It is not clear from the reports in the national press the background to the advice which the homeowners obtained when they purchased the properties. However, it is fair to say that a specialist conveyancing lawyer who carries out appropriate due diligence on a purchase should find out the following:

  • whether planning permission for proposed development has been granted
  • where the approved plans for the proposed development can be viewed
  • whether there are any enforcement proceedings relating to unauthorised building works or breach of planning legislation
  • details of any planning appeals.

It is also fair to say that any specialist conveyancing lawyer would apply a significant amount of due diligence to a purchase of a property in a small exclusive development where the purchase price was in the region of £1 million. The development is also adjacent to the 'beautiful West Pennine Moors' which would also alert a conveyancer to the fact that stricter planning controls might be in place.

This situation has no doubt caused all involved a huge amount of stress and is a salutary reminder of the importance of taking specialist conveyancing advice when buying a property, particularly if the property is in the course of construction or is on a new development. Buying a new build property is significantly more complex than one which has been standing for many years.

Somewhat ironically, the name of the developer in this sorry saga is reported to be Sparkle Developments. Some of the shine has been lost for these homeowners, no doubt.

To discuss this or any other property matter, contact us.