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Key questions about Athlone House planning row answered

Athlone House Athlone House

Tuesday, January 21, 2014
8:00 AM

Have you got a question about the Athlone House development saga? Read the answers to the most frequently asked questions here.

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Why was the developer not forced to restore Athlone House as per the 2004 planning agreement that was granted for the Caenwood Court housing development off Hampstead Lane?

The agreement required Athlone House to be renovated within 42 months of work starting on the construction of flats in Caenwood Court.

As the deadline for renovation works to the house approached, an application to demolish and rebuild the property was submitted.

While an application or appeal is ongoing, the council says it is almost impossible to convince a court to sanction enforcement action.

The council has now received another application to demolish and replace the property, so until the current application has been resolved, the council is unable to take enforcement action.

Why is it almost impossible to enforce the agreement while processes are being made?

The courts will not grant an injunction that would require the developer to restore the house while there is a live planning application which, if approved, would mean that the agreement does not have to be met.

This was confirmed in advice that the council received from the courts.

Why was it not possible to change the deadline of 42 months, so as to enforce the obligation more quickly?

Amending the terms of the agreement requires “a deed of variation” to be entered into by all the parties to the original agreement.

The developer would most likely not agree with this and the council cannot amend the terms of the agreement otherwise.

Why wasn’t the agreement enforced between the two applications?

The developer began pre-application discussions as soon as the appeal decision was issued, which meant that it would have been almost impossible to persuade a judge that an injunction should be granted before the application had been dealt with.

How regularly does the council make checks on Athlone House to ensure it is not deteriorating?

The council makes checks around every six months and it has made nine visits since 2009.

The council has identified a number of works for the owners to carry out as a result of the regular inspections. The owner has undertaken the actions identified by the council, which are required to prevent further deterioration.

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