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Council secures injunction for breach of planning rules

This news article was published more than a year ago. Some of the information may no longer be accurate.

Published: 30/03/2015

South Gloucestershire Council has secured a court injunction against GMT Developments (UK) Limited for breaching planning rules.

The injunction, which is the strongest available planning enforcement power, was issued by Bristol County Court on 27 March and requires works to stop immediately on a site adjacent to 328 North Road, Yate. After the terms of the injunction order were agreed in court, we were also awarded £3,500 in legal costs from the defendants.

We first received complaints about work starting on the site on 11 March. When officers attended the address that day, they found building materials and a portacabin had been put on the land, and works to dig the foundations for residential dwellings had begun. Material in place to protect the roots of trees had also been removed from an access route. In addition, a number of trees located at the entrance to the site are subject to Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) and these had not been protected from the works taking place.

With no conditions discharged on previous planning applications relating to the site and with the current application only in outline phase, the developers had no legal planning permission to carry out this work. A Temporary Stop Notice was immediately issued to the developers on the same day (March 11).

As well as the stop notice, we decided to pursue the case to secure an injunction. The case was heard at Bristol County Court on Monday 23 March and the Judge HHJ Denyer QC, agreed to grant an interim injunction to restrain all works on site until the further hearing on Friday 27 March.

A full injunction order was granted at this further hearing on 27 March, requiring the works to stop and the removal of some of the offending items away from the root protection zone of the trees. The council presented the case that potentially serious and irreversible harm was being caused to the TPO trees without the benefit of any planning permission and that all powers to cease the works, short of a court injunction had been exhausted.

This is the third time in the past five years that we have been forced to proceed with such extreme measures to tackle a breach of planning control. The court’s decision to grant the full injunction on a ‘without notice’ basis is a reflection of the severity of the breach.

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