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‘Landmark’ Class ZA appeal decision

hgh has secured what appears to be the first Class ZA Permitted Development Right approval on appeal.

For the demolition of a former office block and for a replacement building for 33 residential units in the London Borough of Harrow (APP/M5450/W/22/3292680), this Class ZA decision also itself provided a lesson learnt.

Acting on behalf of its client, W.E. Black Ltd, hgh originally applied for the demolition and rebuild of Marlborough House via Class ZA in August 2020. Following an initial refusal, hgh argued that the Council had erred in their assessment, having incorrectly considered the ZA application against the development plan and not the Framework and Prior Approval legislation criteria. The scheme was amended, re-submitted and subsequently refused again on the same basis by the Council. An appeal was then lodged.

In allowing the appeal in December 2022, the Inspector wholly agreed with hgh, commenting that the Class ZA procedure is purposefully a ‘light touch’ approach to delivering homes on previously developed land and “much less prescriptive than those relating to planning applications“.

A Lesson Learnt

In finding that the Council had acted unreasonably, the Inspector also awarded full costs against the Council, on the basis of “unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary and wasted expense”.

Richard Henley, Executive Director, hgh Consulting said: “Councils should take heed of this decision and be very careful to apply the correct legislative parameters in their assessment of Prior Approval applications or otherwise face the consequences. We are delighted for our client that the right decision was eventually secured – we may be the first ZA approval on appeal, but we certainly won’t be the last...”

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