Should lapsed planning permissions be automatically renewed? Or can they be modified or revoked altogether in the public interest? Would that result in the local authority incurring millions in compensation payments to developers?
Section 25 sub-sections (7) and (8) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 under Revocation and modification of planning permission and approval of building plans are relevant. Note that if planning permission is revoked in the public interest, compensation is limited to expenditure actually incurred (and the Council has the right to determine what it feels is adequate) and NOT, as is repeatedly implied, for loss of future profits running into colossal figures:
(1) If it appears to the local planning authority to be in the public interest that a planning permission granted under subsection 22(3) or an approval of a building plan given under any of the Town and Country Planning 47 previous local government laws should be revoked or modified, the local planning authority may order the permission or approval to be revoked or modified to such extent as appears to it to be necessary….
(7) If a planning permission or an approval of a building plan is revoked under subsection (1) and the person to whom the permission or approval was granted claims from the local planning authority,
within the time and in the manner prescribed, compensation for any expenditure incurred by him in carrying out works to implement the permission or approval prior to its revocation or modification,
the local planning authority shall, after giving the person a reasonable opportunity to be heard, offer such compensation to him as the local planning authority thinks adequate.
(8) Where a planning permission or an approval of a building plan is modified under subsection (1), the local planning authority shall reimburse the person to whom the permission or approval was granted the costs actually and reasonably incurred by him in implementing the modification, being costs that he would not have incurred had the modification not been ordered, and shall compensate.
This threat of ‘millions in compensation’ should be seriously challenged. We also badly need law reform to ensure public interest is unambiguously protected.