April 27th, 2023 by James Goudie KC

Section 78 of the Building Act 1984 gives a local authority power to take steps to deal with a building or structure which is in a dangerous state, such that immediate action is needed to remove the danger. Does this power abrogate the ned to obtain planning permission, where this would otherwise be required in order to take the necessary steps? Yes, says Lane J in R ( Samuel Smith Old Brewery ) v Redcar & Cleveland BC ( 2023 ) EWHC 878 ( Admin).The exercise of the power is not contingent upon any need to have obtained planning permission. The fact that planning permission was required, but not obtained, by the Council before commencing demolition of the property, an unlisted building in a conservation area, did not mean that that the Council acted outside the Section 78 power.

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