Row over 1937 house plan in Chidham ended with letter

The 1937 site layout for Chidham Harbour Estate.'Supporting document for planning application 18/00900/ELD. SUS-180506-170813001
The 1937 site layout for Chidham Harbour Estate.'Supporting document for planning application 18/00900/ELD. SUS-180506-170813001

A row over an attempt to build a house using planning permission dating from 1937 appears to have finally reached an end.

More than 100 objections were made on the application to build a house in what is now a garden, on the basis the Harbour Way plot was marked in drawings for the ‘Chidham Harbour Estate’ 81 years ago.

Planning permission, dated 1937, for the layout of Chidham Harbour Estate. Supporting document for planning application 18/00900/ELD. SUS-180506-170824001

Planning permission, dated 1937, for the layout of Chidham Harbour Estate. Supporting document for planning application 18/00900/ELD. SUS-180506-170824001

Planning law in the 1930s did not carry an expiry date on planning permission once granted and despite the drawings predating the Second World War, legal opinion had been divided on the issue of whether subsequent legislation or use closed the loophole.

This week, the request for existing lawful development was offically withdrawn after Chichester District Council’s own legal team found the layout drawings for the estate, agreed in 1937, did not constitute modern planning permission.

Neighbouring residents and conservation groups had been concerned that had the 1930s permit been considered valid, it would have opened up the possibility of the rest of the unbuilt estate being allowed, threatening the now protected harbour area.

Objecting to the plan, Bosham resident Jillian McGregor cited concerns on the impact on wildlife and planning policy.

She added: “This application is a purely legalistic and specious contrivance to circumvent serious current planning legislation.”

After months of deliberation, the council published its legal comment on December 8.

It concluded: “I do not consider that the 1937 approval operates in the same way as a grant of outline planning permission.

“It lapsed in 1948 and the applicant has not shown that a deemed planning permission under the s78 Town and County Planning Act 1947 for the construction of a house on Plot 11 was granted.”

The applicant withdrew the application with the intention of reapplying for a ‘certificate of lawfulness of proposed use or development’ instead.