Recent planning appeals provide useful and informative information with regard to determining planning applications, and allowing planning consultants to justify applications. One recent interesting case is the certificate of lawful development application for a Christmas tree plantation in Devon. The inspector concluded that the land was used for forestry, not agricultural uses. This would mean that the hardstanding may not be considered as lawful. I would be confident that many of the Christmas tree distribution centres will not have consent, which would mean that there is potential for local authority action where development consists of hardstanding.
With revisions to Planning Policy Statement 3 (PPS3), there has been significant debate on the density of residential development, this has meant developers are unclear as to what constitutes as an acceptable density from a planning perspective. Interestingly a recent planning appeal determined in rural Northamptonshire for 14 dwellings was refused by virtue of being a density which was too low. It was concluded that the site made an inefficient use of land. This may be useful for developers, that, in spite of alterations to PPS3, development can still be considered as being too low a density.
Finally, a case in a conservation area in south westLondonfor the retention of a retractable awning was allowed at appeal. The inspector considered the awning to add to liveliness of the streetscene. Whist each conservation area may have a unique historic and or architectural interest, the fact that the inspector considered an awning acceptable in a commercial area could be a useful case to refer to, in justifying commercial alterations in the locality.