Hiring a council park

November 20th, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Environment, Highways and Leisure

In R (Friends of Finsbury Park) v Haringey LBC (2017) EWCA Civ 1831 the Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal from Supperstone J dismissing a claim for judicial review of a decision by Haringey Council to hire part of Finsbury Park for a licensed music Festival, pursuant to Section 145 of the Local Government Act 1972.

The Council held Finsbury Park under Section 10 of the Open Spaces Act 1906 or a statutory trust for use by the public for recreation. The public were its beneficial owners.  They had a statutory right to use it for recreational purposes.  The local authority owner must generally allow the public the free and unrestricted use of it.  It cannot exclude the general public from it.  All that, however, is subject to contrary legislative provisions.

The Court of Appeal, agreeing with Supperstone J’s reasons, held that Section 145 of the 1972 Act provided the Council with power to enclose part of Finsbury Park for the purposes of events such as the Festival. They were not limited to considering the application for hire only under other statutory provisions. They were able to do so notwithstanding the trust under the 1906 Act, provided that they used the 1972 Act power lawfully and not to frustrate the legislative purpose.

 

Minicab licensing

November 13th, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Environment, Highways and Leisure

In R Milton Keynes Council v Skyline Taxis and Private Hire Limited (2017) EWHC 2794 (Admin) considered an appeal with respect to offences under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 of operating a vehicle as a private hire vehicle for which a licence was not in force and the driver of which was not licensed.  The Divisional Court set out the legal background as follows.

There are two types of car available for hire to transport passengers, namely hackney carriages (or “taxis”) and private hire vehicles (or “minicabs”), to which different rules apply. The appeal concerned only the latter. Moreover, it concerned only the provisions which apply to out-of-London private hire vehicle operations. Different provisions apply to minicabs in London. Read more »

 

ENVIRONMENTAL OFFENCES

November 6th, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Environment, Highways and Leisure

The Environmental Offences (Fixed Penalties) (England) Regulations 2017, SI 2017/1050, (“the 2017 Regulations”), supplement provisions in Acts for fixed penalties payable in respect of offences relating to the environment. They replace the Environmental Offences (Fixed Penalties) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2007 (“the EOR 2007”) (except for Regulation 2(2)(b) and 3(2)(b) of the EOR 2007). The 2017 Regulations prescribe the ranges within which the amounts of certain fixed penalties that are capable of being specified by a local authority are required to fall (Regulations 2 to 5). The ranges for littering, free distribution of printed matter on designated land and graffiti and fly-posting (see Regulations 4 and 5) are different to those under the EOR 2007. For the period beginning with 1 April 2018 and ending with 31 March 2019, the range is not less than £50 and not more than £150 (Regulation 4). From 1 April 2019, the range is not less than £65 and not more than £150 (Regulation 5).

Regulations 6 and 7 amend the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 in relation to England to increase the amount of the penalties for littering, free distribution of printed matter on designated land and graffiti and fly-posting where a local authority does not specify an amount. The penalty for each is increased from £75 to £100.

The 2017 Regulations also state a minimum lesser amount which an authority may treat as payment of the full amount if paid before the end of a period specified by the authority in relation to certain fixed penalties (Regulations 8 to 11).

 

 

Conservation of habitats and species

November 3rd, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Environment, Highways and Leisure

The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, SI 2017/1012 (the “Habitats Regulations 2017”) consolidate and update the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (the “Habitats Regulations 2010”). The Habitats Regulations 2017 consolidate all the various amendments made to the Habitats Regulations 2010 and also introduce a small number of minor amendments designed to take account of changes to other related legislation, such as amendments to Town and Country Planning legislation, rectify previous omissions, or improve the clarity of drafting. Read more »

 

Highways

August 16th, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Environment, Highways and Leisure

In Sheffield City Council v Fairhall and others ( 2017 ) EWHC 2121 ( QB ) Males J granted the City Council an injunction to restrain direct action against highway tree removal. The tree removal was for the purpose of highway maintenance and was lawful. Objectors maintaining a presence in a safety zone after barriers had been erected and a notice had been displayed were committing a trespass.

 

 

Meaning of “Highway”

August 7th, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Environment, Highways and Leisure

In Southwark LBC v Transport for London (2017) EWCA Civ 1220 the Court of Appeal applied the common law meaning of “highway” as only the road surface and “the top two spits” of subsoil necessary to use as a highway, and not the entire vertical interest in the land on which the highway runs.

 

 

Open Spaces

August 7th, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Environment, Highways and Leisure

In R (Muir) v Wandsworth LBC (2017) EWHC 1947 (Admin) Lang J held that the Council lacked the power to grant a 15 year lease of a building on Wandsworth Common for use as a nursery for pre-school children. Under Section 10 of the Open Spaces Act 1906 and a Greater London Open Spaces Order the Council held not only the Common itself but also buildings on the Common on a statutory trust. The beneficiaries of the trust are the inhabitants of Wandsworth. The Council was obliged to maintain access for all local residents for the primary purpose of public recreation.

 

 

Sex shop licensing

July 19th, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Environment, Highways and Leisure

In R (Hemming) v Westminster City Council (2017) UKSC 50, Supreme Court Judgment on 19 July 2017, is a sequel to the Supreme Court’s previous judgment dated 29 April [2015] UKSC 25; [2015] AC 1600. It is written with the benefit of the Court of Justice’s answer dated 16 November 2016 ((Case C-316/15) [2017] PTSR 325) to the question which that judgment referred to the Court of Justice. The appeal concerns fees which were charged to the respondents on applying to Westminster City Council for sex shop licences for the three years ended 31 January 2011, 2012 and 2013 and which included the Council’s costs of enforcing the licensing scheme against unlicensed third parties running sex shops (“enforcement costs”). The respondents’ applications all in the event succeeded. Read more »

 

Town and Village Greens

July 19th, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Environment, Highways and Leisure

In R (St John’s College, Cambridge) v Cambridgeshire County Council (2017) EWHC 1753 (Admin) the College sought permission to apply for judicial review of two decisions of the Council in its capacity as commons registration authority for the area under the Commons Act 2006.  The decisions challenged related to an application on behalf of a Residents Association to register land belonging to the College as a town or village green under Section 15 of the 2006 Act. The case raised, apparently for the first time, the question whether the correction of defective applications to ensure that they are duly made under the 2006 Act is limited to one occasion only. Read more »

 

Public Spaces

June 20th, 2017 by James Goudie QC in Environment, Highways and Leisure

The Local Government Association has published Guidance for Councils on Public Spaces Protection Orders under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.