Allotments

November 3rd, 2016

R (Moore) v SoS for CLG and Watford Borough Council (2016) EWHC 2736 (Admin) is an unsuccessful review challenge to a decision of the SoS to grant consent to the Council under Section 8 of the Allotments Act 1925 for the appropriation under Section 122 of the Local Government Act 1972 of allotment land for use as part of a redevelopment scheme.

The SoS could grant consent only if that was justified by exceptional circumstances. Lang J rejected the Claimant’s submission that the SoS could not rely on the cumulative weight of individual factors in support of a finding of “exceptional circumstance” unless each factor amounted to an exceptional circumstance taken on its own.  She also rejected the Claimant’s submission that the SoS had failed to apply the policy in his Guidance.  On ECHR A1P1 and proportionality, the Judge found that (1) there was a legitimate aim (the benefits of the scheme), (2) the grant of consent was rationally connected to that legitimate aim, (3) that legitimate aim could not have been achieved by a less intrusive measure, and (4) on a fair balance, the benefits of achieving the aim by the measure outweighed the disbenefits resulting from the restriction of the relevant protected right.  Lang J concluded:-

“In my judgment the Secretary of State was correct to hold that the interference with the A1P1 rights of the allotment holders was justified and proportionate because of the wider public benefits to be gained by incorporation of the Allotments into the Scheme.  Given the allocation of new allotments nearby, the assistance to re-locate, and financial compensation to the allotment holders, I consider that a fair balance has been struck.”

 

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