As most of you will probably realise by now, I really love permitted development. It enables you to get around all sorts of planning restrictions and planning laws and provides you with ways of getting the permissions that you require but with perhaps a much easier route than having to do battle with planning officers.
Aside from planning permission there's also three little bits of information which are very useful, these are to do with time limits in The Town and Country Planning Act and they deal with the 10-year rule, the 4-year rule, and the 28-day rule. The 28-day rule is the lesser known of the three and I'll cover the other two in future posts.
The 28-day rule was found to be very useful to get over a particular problem an acquaintance of mine had recently. He is a scrap metal merchant and he had a small yard which was rapidly running out of room. He was using skips which were being filled with scrap metal and he had deliveries and pick-ups of lorries taking the scrap metal away. The issue was, he needed somewhere to store the spare skips.
He asked me what was the likelihood of him getting planning permission to expand his yard. I said the nature of the business is not exactly very neighbour friendly and it might take some time to do, but in the meantime, I had an idea that we could use to enable him to carry on with the business and expand a little which involved the 28-day rule.
The 28-day rule effectively says that you can use any piece of land that you own, for any purpose that you like for 28 days of the year. It doesn't have to be 28 consecutive days, it is just any random 28 days of the year. As long as you reinstate the land back to how it originally was, then you can do what you like with it.
Travelling showmen and travellers tend to use the 28-day rule as they don't need planning permission to put up fairgrounds and caravans etc as long as they put all the land back to how it previously was and make sure they clear the site.
So using that same principle, I looked at his piece of land which was about 50m by 50m and I thought to myself you’ve got 365 days in a year, so divide 365 by 28 days, that gives you 13 (13 strips of land) as long as each one of those strips of land is in a separate ownership (how he got around that one is a subject for another post) he had effectively got 13 individual strips of land which he was able to put his skips on.
This meant that as a skip was picked up or delivered, it would go onto an alternate piece of land, using all 13 strips in rotation. He would be able to do that for quite a few months without breaking the law. He was perfectly within his rights to do this as long as each time he picked up a skip or delivered one, he makes sure that the land wasn't damaged in any way. This enabled him to carry on with his business.
In the end, he did get his planning permission but it did take around 9 or 10 months, but using the 28-day rule, he was able to carry on with his business.