Our clients owned a site which it transpired had obtained planning permission for 28 dwellings in 1981. Since that time the site had been left vacant. Being located on the edge of the settlement planning permission could potentially have been obtained however the site constraints, for example, its ecology and trees as well as the likely planning obligations and conditions could have increased the risk of obtaining planning permission as well as the costs of implementing the scheme.
In reviewing the historic application and inspecting the site it seems that some form of works had been undertaken on the site which potentially could have been seen as a material start on site although there was no evidence that the relevant planning conditions had been complied with.
Further investigations and a detailed justification were undertaken to prove that a material and lawful start had been made and planning permission was therefore extant.