Warning over legal loophole that allows 'stealth' planning applications

The Bolton News: Cllr Nick Peel Cllr Nick Peel

A LOOPHOLE in planning law is allowing homeowners to mislead Bolton Council into approving house extensions, according to councillors.

With planning chiefs currently compelled to judge each application on its individual merits, and ignore previous work, people are subverting planning law “by stealth”.

Cllr Nick Peel, Bolton Council’s executive member, said the government is aware of the discrepancy but has so far not changed planning law.

Currently, building a new house on a plot of green belt land is not likely to receive planning permission, but converting a garage into a house has more chance as the most recent change might not significantly encroach into the green belt.

Some developers have therefore been accused of intentionally applying for extensions in stages, to maximise their chances of success.

Cllr Peel added that, under the current system, councillors sometimes have suspicions that applications may be a precursor to a larger development but are unable to act on these feelings.

Concerns were raised at a meeting of Westhoughton Town Council on November 25, when councillors unanimously refused to support an extension to a property in Lower Leigh Road.

The owner had applied to turn his double garage into a detached dwelling with a rear extension, which town councillors interpreted as the final step in an attempt to subvert the process.

At the meeting, Cllr David Wilkinson, for Hoskers and Hart Common, said: “We’re seeing this more and more.

“I said at the time, why has someone been allowed to build a garage that looks very similar to a bungalow.

“Well guess what, it is now becoming a bungalow.

“This is a back-door planning application, and a quite inappropriate development in quite a rural area.”

Cllr Gill Williams, for Daisy Hill, said: “This garage was built under the proviso that it would not be built into a house.

“We have had this problem with a few developments, and they have been allowed to be made into houses.”

The application is now set to be assessed by Bolton Council’s planning committee.

On the general problem, Cllr Peel said: “It does not happen an awful lot but when it does it makes life very difficult for planning members.

“Garages are ancillary buildings to a house and can be permitted in rural areas where houses would probably be turned down.

“You can’t look at someone’s application for a garage and reject it on the grounds that they could at one stage apply to convert it, and think planning by stealth.


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“You would be making a judgement on an application on the basis of something that they have not asked for.

“People can then come back at a later date to convert the garage to make it habitable but we have to judge each plan on its merits.

“You can put a condition in that there should not be any further development, but people can still challenge that, and might win.”

Comments (12)

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8:49am Thu 12 Dec 13

thomas222 says...

Ride around Halliwell and you will find dozens of buildings treble the size of the origianal buildings. The Bn should ask people to name and shame these buildings that have been done in this way. There are dozens peel is a LIAR!
Ride around Halliwell and you will find dozens of buildings treble the size of the origianal buildings. The Bn should ask people to name and shame these buildings that have been done in this way. There are dozens peel is a LIAR! thomas222

9:52am Thu 12 Dec 13

steveG says...

Perhaps there are a lot of stealth planners in Halliwell?.
Perhaps there are a lot of stealth planners in Halliwell?. steveG

10:01am Thu 12 Dec 13

Phil from Smithills says...

Well done Westhoughton Council for refusing to support the application, that's one of the reason that parish councils are for, although there has been criticism by a few on their existence.

Now it's up to Bolton Council to follow the parish councils decision and back them up fully.
Well done Westhoughton Council for refusing to support the application, that's one of the reason that parish councils are for, although there has been criticism by a few on their existence. Now it's up to Bolton Council to follow the parish councils decision and back them up fully. Phil from Smithills

11:01am Thu 12 Dec 13

Gore Seer says...

Bolton Council Are the Biggest Users Of Stealth Planning.
Bolton Council Are the Biggest Users Of Stealth Planning. Gore Seer

12:51pm Thu 12 Dec 13

I, Ludicrous says...

Is this the same Planning Department that have allowed that absolute monstrosity to stand on Stoneyhurst Avenue regardless of the negative impact that it has upon the neighbours?
Is this the same Planning Department that have allowed that absolute monstrosity to stand on Stoneyhurst Avenue regardless of the negative impact that it has upon the neighbours? I, Ludicrous

12:52pm Thu 12 Dec 13

farnworth's mafia says...

let them build u nosy pr1cks if they have the money and aint seriously troubling any one allow them. and it shudnt be the council deciding on a application the neighbours should be the ones to give acceptance
let them build u nosy pr1cks if they have the money and aint seriously troubling any one allow them. and it shudnt be the council deciding on a application the neighbours should be the ones to give acceptance farnworth's mafia

1:23pm Thu 12 Dec 13

nozza17 says...

farnworth's mafia wrote:
let them build u nosy pr1cks if they have the money and aint seriously troubling any one allow them. and it shudnt be the council deciding on a application the neighbours should be the ones to give acceptance
Bell.........end.
[quote][p][bold]farnworth's mafia[/bold] wrote: let them build u nosy pr1cks if they have the money and aint seriously troubling any one allow them. and it shudnt be the council deciding on a application the neighbours should be the ones to give acceptance[/p][/quote]Bell.........end. nozza17

1:57pm Thu 12 Dec 13

thomas222 says...

farnworth's mafia wrote:
let them build u nosy pr1cks if they have the money and aint seriously troubling any one allow them. and it shudnt be the council deciding on a application the neighbours should be the ones to give acceptance
Welcome the the western world where most people are tolerant to people who are also tolerant to them. This is not a tin pot anything goes country just yet though the people who do this selfish act are tin pot backward village scroats with third world attitudes and mentality.... Innnit Bro!.
PS. Our acceptance to accept anything Islamic is coming to a end. Your days are numbered!
[quote][p][bold]farnworth's mafia[/bold] wrote: let them build u nosy pr1cks if they have the money and aint seriously troubling any one allow them. and it shudnt be the council deciding on a application the neighbours should be the ones to give acceptance[/p][/quote]Welcome the the western world where most people are tolerant to people who are also tolerant to them. This is not a tin pot anything goes country just yet though the people who do this selfish act are tin pot backward village scroats with third world attitudes and mentality.... Innnit Bro!. PS. Our acceptance to accept anything Islamic is coming to a end. Your days are numbered! thomas222

3:19pm Thu 12 Dec 13

I, Ludicrous says...

farnworth's mafia wrote:
let them build u nosy pr1cks if they have the money and aint seriously troubling any one allow them. and it shudnt be the council deciding on a application the neighbours should be the ones to give acceptance
One problem with the Internet and with a reader's facility to reply to articles on online news sites is that they allow any old ill-educated numbnuts to spew forth their poory conceived opinion, as evidenced above.
[quote][p][bold]farnworth's mafia[/bold] wrote: let them build u nosy pr1cks if they have the money and aint seriously troubling any one allow them. and it shudnt be the council deciding on a application the neighbours should be the ones to give acceptance[/p][/quote]One problem with the Internet and with a reader's facility to reply to articles on online news sites is that they allow any old ill-educated numbnuts to spew forth their poory conceived opinion, as evidenced above. I, Ludicrous

5:08pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Ppatts says...

like the monstrosity in sharples!..
like the monstrosity in sharples!.. Ppatts

5:17pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Ppatts says...

bolton council will approve!
bolton council will approve! Ppatts

6:58pm Thu 12 Dec 13

serendipity2 says...

To quote fatty this implies where bent..

Well if there is no corruption in planning and they have nothing to fear from a full investigation into planning decisions... Using stealth to pass inappropriate applications
To quote fatty this implies where bent.. Well if there is no corruption in planning and they have nothing to fear from a full investigation into planning decisions... Using stealth to pass inappropriate applications serendipity2

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