High Court decides meaning of Hounslow Article 4 Direction

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The High Court (Justine Thornton QC) has quashed decisions by LB Hounslow refusing prior approval applications for office to residential conversion. Hounslow adopted an Article 4 direction in January 2018 which removes permitted development rights for office to residential conversions. The direction contained an exclusion by which Hounslow purported to preserve permitted development rights in respect of extant permitted schemes which were already on foot. However, the wording employed appeared to exclude all sites or buildings in respect of which permitted development rights had been granted. Berkshire Assets (West London) argued that regardless of the authority’s intention, the direction was a public document, which should be interpreted primarily according to the actual words used. The Court agreed, quashing refusals for up to 271 units of accommodation on a site in West London. Click here for the judgment. Rupert Warren QC appeared for Berkshire Assets, instructed by CMS. Reuben Taylor QC advised Berkshire Assets in the case.

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