Evidence Sign-off on the commencement of build

August 15, 2020 by simon wells in forum Planning Forum

#775 simon wells, 15 August 2020, 16:46

We are in the process of buying a property which comes with a barn that was granted planning permission in 2011 for conversion into a 3 bed house. Footings have been dug and some block work completed - apparently making the planning live. All of the work, including the planning, was completed by the previous owners. The current vendor never went any further and are now selling.
However, at the moment, the vendor has no written evidence that the planning department ever visited the site and signed off on the commencement of the build. Also the planning department is not being forthcoming with any such evidence. Has anyone come across this before and where we might stand? Judging by the appearance of the block work it was clearly started some time ago, but without any sign-off not sure the planning would still be valid. any ideas?

#776 Damian, 15 August 2020, 20:37

Planning would not visit sites to confirm works have started and therefore implementing Planning approvals.

A commencement for new builds is normally foundation excavation and evidence of that is normally carried out by a Building Control Officer. But for that to have happened, a Building Control application would have had to have been submitted. Therefore, does the LA have any record of Building Control applications or inspections?

Are you aware of any pre-commencement conditions that were attached to the original approval, which needed to be discharged prior to works starting?

#777 simon wells, 15 August 2020, 21:02

Thanks for reply.
The LA does not have any record of any building control applications or inspections.

The only pre-commencement conditions to the original approval were the building of a bat roost (there is a report outlining the requirements) - which as far we can see has not been done. However the area where the bats are has not yet been touched or disturbed. The foundations work is in another area of the site.

#778 Damian, 15 August 2020, 22:01

If the ‘building of a bat roost’ was a pre-commencement condition, which hasn’t been formally discharged but works have started, then that would indicate your Planning approval has expired. This is irrespective of how close (or not) the proposed foundations are to this roost.

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