Ques­tion over plan­ning per­mis­sion

FOI sub­mis­sion

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News -

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”.

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