Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Seek Approval for Demolition; WHO'S PLANNING WHAT? MICHELLE SPARK

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Seek Approval for Demolition; WHO'S PLANNING WHAT? MICHELLE SPARK

Article excerpt

DEMOLITION is an integral part of development as old, often disused, buildings are dismantled to make way for new schemes.

However, following a recent case in the Court of Appeal, demolition may now require planning permission as well as consideration as to whether an environmental impact assessment of the planned work will need to be carried out.

In the Court of Appeal case, the owners of the former Mitchell's Brewery in Lancaster sought to demolish a series of buildings dating from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

Lancaster City Council made the decision, in December 2009, that prior approval of the demolition was not required as the buildings were excluded under the Town and Country Planning (Demolition - Description of Buildings) Direction 1995 and as such no planning permission was required.

However, that decision was challenged by pressure group SAVE Britain's Heritage on the grounds that the demolition direction was incompatible with European Directive 85/337/EEC, which considers whether the development has an impact on the environment. SAVE also argued that the directive had not been correctly transposed into UK law and they sought a declaration that demolition of the buildings was capable of being a project which fell under Annex II of Directive 85/337/EEC.

Although the application for judicial review was dismissed, SAVE appealed to the Court of Appeal which found that demolition works are capable of falling within under the category of other schemes.

If the works are capable of being a scheme, then they are also capable of being an urban development project failing within Directive 85/337/EEC and as such capable of requiring an environmental impact assessment (EIA). The court also granted the declaration that paragraphs 2(1) (a) to (d) of the demolition direction are unlawful.

As a result, the demolition of a listed building, a building in a conservation area, a building which is a scheduled ancient monument or a building that is not a dwelling house or adjoining a dwelling house is now development requiring planning permission. …

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