Greyfort had submitted an application for a certificate of lawful use, essentially seeking to keep alive a planning permission granted in 1974 for the development of nineteen flats in Torquay. The fourth condition of the planning permission required that "before any work is commenced on the site" the ground floor levels of the building were to be agreed upon with the Local Planning Authority. Some works had been carried out in 1978 and it was argued by the inspector (as the planning authority had refused the application) that this condition had not been discharged, describing it as a "condition precedent that goes to the heart of the permitted scheme for nineteen flats", such that the 1974 permission had not been lawfully implemented.
The claimant relied upon the basis of what had been observed in Hart Aggregates by Mr Justice Sullivan, arguing that the condition did not prohibit commencement of operations until the plans had been approved as the wording of the prohibition in the condition was not clear enough. However, Mr Justice Sullivan then went on to give examples of wording which would be clear enough, including an example of a condition exactly the same in substance as the fourth condition in question. Thus undermining the claimant's reliance on Hart Aggregates.
Mr Justice Mitting, when giving his judgment, stated that he saw no material difference between a condition which expressly prohibits development before a particular matter is approved and one which requires a particular matter to be approved before the development commences. The claimant's appeal against the inspector's decision was dismissed.