Question over planning permission
The question over whether planning permission was needed to convert the 74 homes at St Michael’s Gate into temporary accommodation led to more than £2,000 being spent on external legal advice.
Newly uncovered internal communication at Peterborough City Council – following a Peterborough Telegraph Freedom of Information re- quest– reveals questionswere as k edabou tplann ing permissio n despite a deal with Stef & Philips to lease the properties having already been agreed.
On October 6, after the deal had been made public but before it was signed off, senior council lawyer Ruth Lea emailed: “The urgent advice required relates to St Michael’s Gate as it would appear that they had not sought planning permission for the change of use.
“Doyoure callw hethe rthis waseverde altwith asits eems planning had not been asked to give an opinion?”
Growth and property lawyer Jenny Harris replied: “To be honest it did not occur to me that planning permission would be necessary.
“It is currently residential accommodationandwillcon- tinue to beresidential accommodation.”
The council then spent £2,250 on external legal advice, according to a spokeswoman, due to the “sensiti vitiesand impli cat ions of this case.”
She said the legal advice confirmed that the internal concern was “unwarranted and the original advice was correct”.