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Blackburn lawyer secures £2m planning victory

» Posted on: 29 March 2012

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A Blackburn lawyer is celebrating after netting an estimated £2million overnight for his client in a property battle in the south. David Bailey, a partner at Taylors Solicitors, secured a key planning decision to allow a 50,000 sq ft retail showroom and warehouse unit to be used for unrestricted retail purposes.

Kitchens retailer Magnet has been using the site, close to Plymouth, as a retail outlet and for warehousing, but while permission was granted for the retail aspect to be built in 1985, no change of use for the building was ever authorised.

To maximise the value of the property its owner English Holdings Group, David’s client, needed to establish the whole of the building could be used for retail purposes.

David said: “In simple terms, if it can be used for both then the property is worth a lot more. After initially favouring an application for these uses, Plymouth City Council then rejected the idea.”

It was at this point, last Autumn, that Taylors, working with planning specialist Adam Key of property agents Savills, began piecing together the jigsaw of evidence about the historic uses of the property.

David added: “The paper trail took us back more than 40 years to 1971, but it was worth the effort and we knew we were on good legal ground.

“Our team worked well in securing the decision the client wanted because the Council finally gave permission. It underlines a key principle of planning law that if permission is granted for development and not on change of use, if there are no restrictions on use in the conditions, permission is deemed to have been given for the use intended by the development.

“English Holdings Group believes the value of the property increased by between £1.5million and £2million overnight. It was an excellent piece of teamwork between us and Savills.”

Adam Key of Savills Planning, who worked jointly on the project added: “To obtain this certificate of lawfulness is relatively rare in planning terms and to add such a considerable value to a building for a landlord is testament to all the team’s hard work. This is an area of planning that we deal with a lot across the UK and similar businesses could also benefit should the law be behind them, as it was in this case.”

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