New dwelling in Cotswolds AONB – the importance of a fall-back position


Plainview Planning are delighted with our recent planning application success for the erection of a single residential dwelling within the curtilage of a Grade II Listed building within the Cotswolds AONB and the Ashton-Under-Hill conservation area.

Expiration dates on planning permissions:

We had assisted our client with a successful application for a single dwelling development on site in 2014, but the application required a resubmission as the previous permission was about to expire.

In most circumstances, planning permission is granted with a condition which requires development to begin within 3 years of the decision date. However, unusually on this occasion, when planning permission was granted by Wychavon Council for the development, it was approved with an 18 month period for commencement.

The rationale behind this was provided in the case officer’s report which sought to maintain the councils 5 year housing land supply (YHLS), therefore: “… a shortened time period for implementation of the permission is justified by the need to boost the supply of housing.”

However, our client needed more time to implement the permission.

Negotiating a resubmission:

Obtaining the previous permission had been a lengthy process of extensive but positive negotiations. Discussions had been led by our planning consultants ensuring that any concerns about the complex nature of the site raised by the case officer were assuaged with relevant reports from the architect, arboriculturalist and transport consultants.

Ordinarily resubmissions are fairly straightforward, but on this occasion the South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) was adopted mid-way through determination. The proposal was essentially contrary to many of the policies in the new plan plus an affordable housing contribution would need to be made.

We clearly set out that the extant permission was a significant material consideration. It was, in effect, a fall-back position which can be a strong material consideration in decision making.

The fall-back position:

The questions you need to ask are:

(1) whether there is a fall-back position, that is to say whether there is a lawful ability to undertake such a development;

(2) whether there is a likelihood or real prospect of such a development occurring;

(3) if the answer to the second question is “yes”, a comparison must be made between the proposed development and the fall-back use.

We argued that both developments would be identical, but if the 2014 consent was commenced it would lead to a longer construction period with the associated negative impacts to neighbours, the streetscene and the setting of the listed buildings.

We also flagged the importance for councils to maintain consistency in decision making and highlighted relevant paragraphs in the NPPF and case law to substantiate our case.

The application was approved once more and the permission extended.

About us:

Plainview Planning is an independent town and country planning consultancy and our planning consultants work across the developer, commercial and householder sectors. If you planning application requires professional planning consultant input, contact our team today via to see how we can best assist.