Listed Buildings

November 27th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Planning and Environmental

The appeal in Dill v SoS for CLG and Stratford-on-Avon District Council (2018) EWCA Civ 2619 gave rise to issues relating to the scope of what is meant by “listed building” under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (“the Listed Buildings Act”); and, in the event of dispute, who determines whether something is a “listed building”. The issues arose in relation to two early 18th century limestone piers, each surmounted by a lead urn of the same era. In 1973, the items were moved to a Grade II listed building. In 1986, each of the items was separately Grade II listed. They were subsequently disposed of.   The fact that they
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Housing supply

November 8th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Planning and Environmental

In Cheshire East Council v SoS for HCLG (2018) EWHC 2906 (Admin) the claimant Council sought an Order quashing the decision of the SoS’s Inspector to grant outline planning permission for 29 dwellings.  The central issue in the claim was whether the Inspector misunderstood and/or misapplied paragraph 47 of the first NPPF, in particular with the requirement for LPAs to demonstrate a five-year “deliverable” housing supply. Read more »


Law Changed By Statute

October 23rd, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Planning and Environmental

City of York Council v SoS for CLG (2018) EWHC 2699 (Admin) is the latest in a long line of cases going back to, at least, Victorian times, where the law is changed by statute and a disagreement then arises about the impact of the change on the legal position of the parties. Section 16 of the Interpretation Act 1978 (the 1978 Act) may bear on the issue.

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Discontinuance Notices

October 22nd, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Planning and Environmental

The unsuccessful appellant in Putney Bridge Approach Ltd v SoS for CLG and Hammersmith & Fulham Council [2018] EWCA 2268 owns an office building called Riverbank House (“the site”) on the north side of the River Thames, just over Putney Bridge. On 6 October 2016, the Council as the local planning authority (“the LPA”) served a Discontinuance Notice (“DN”) on the appellant requiring it to discontinue the use of the site for the display of illuminated advertisements. Both the appellant, and the company operating the advertisements (JC Decaux Limited) sought to appeal the DN. The SoS appointed an inspector who, by way of Appeal Decisions dated 29 August 2017, refused the appeals. The appellant sought to challenge the Appeal Decisions in the Planning Court, but the challenge was rejected by Ouseley J, and by the Court of Appeal.

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July 25th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Planning and Environmental

MHCLG has published the first revision of the NPPF since 2012. Alongside the revised NPPF itself, MHCLG has published its response to the consultation on the draft revised NPPF, an equality impact assessment, updated planning practice guidance, guidance on housing and economic development needs assessments, and a policy paper on measurement of housing delivery.


Valued landscape

July 24th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Planning and Environmental

In determining whether a proposed development site is a “valued landscape” within para 109 of the NPPF it is necessary to consider the site as part of the wider landscape, rather than limit consideration to the site’s particular characteristics. Para 109 “is not confined to landscapes which have a particular designation”. In most cases, a development site is but part of a wider landscape. So held by Ouseley J in CEG Land Promotions Ltd v SoS for CLG and Aylesbury Vale District Council (2018) EWHC 1799 (Admin).


Heritage asset

July 24th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Planning and Environmental

Catesby Estates Ltd v Steer (2018) EWCA Civ 1697 concerned the “setting” of a listed building, a concept recognized by statute, and factors, such as the historic relationship between places, in addition to visual and physical considerations and impact. The Court of Appeal held that in the context of an application for planning permission for a development that would potentially affect a listed building or heritage asset, the duty imposed by the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 s. 66(1) to have special regard to the desirability of preserving the asset or its “setting” required the decision-maker to determine the extent of the asset’s setting and the impact of the development upon it. In doing so, the decision-maker had to take account of social, historical and economic, as well as physical and visual, factors.  The setting of a heritage asset was not statutorily defined and did not lend itself to precise definition.  However, implicit in s. 66(1) was the idea that setting could be affected by development, whether within or outside it. Thus, the decision-maker was required to understand what the asset’s setting was, and whether the development site either lay within it or was in some way related to it. Identifying the extent of an asset’s setting and whether the development would affect it was a matter of applying planning judgment to the circumstances of the case, and unless there was clear error of law in the decision-maker’s approach, the court should not intervene. The decision-maker had to have regard to relevant policy and guidance, and to the principle that considerable importance and weight had to be given to the desirability of preserving that setting.  For a proposed development to affect the setting, there had to be a distinct visual relationship between the two.  That relationship had to be more than remote or ephemeral, and it had to bear on how the asset was experienced in its surrounding landscape. However, that did not mean that other factors were to be ignored.  Economic, social and historical considerations were also relevant.


Planning Obligations

June 6th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Planning and Environmental

In Good Energy Generation Ltd v SoS for CLG and Cornwall Council (2018) EWHC 1270 (Admin) concerns the Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for a wind farm development. The refusal was upheld by the SoS and the Inspector.  Lang J declined to quash that decision.  The case is concerned with planning obligations and Regulation 122 of the Community Infrastructure Regulations 2010, which provides a statutory limitation on the use of planning obligations.  The developer submitted that in assessing the planning balance it was an error of law to disregard the benefits offered by the developer in a unilateral undertaking made under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.  The benefits offered included a community investment scheme open to local residents and a reduced electricity tariff open to local residents.

Lang J said, at paragraph 71, that the tests in Regulation 122 are “more stringent” than the general test as to the materiality of a planning obligation, and “go wider” than the previous law. The question of what is “necessary” is now a test in law, which it was not beforehand. She held that the Regulation 122 Tests were not satisfied.


Interpretation and Implication

April 24th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Planning and Environmental

In Lambeth LBC v SoS for CLG (2018) EWCA Civ 844 considered again the interpretation of planning permissions (paragraphs 23-37) and implication (paragraphs 63-75).  Lewison LJ (with whom Hamblen and Coulson LJJ agreed) said as to the interpretation of a condition that the ultimate question was what a reasonable reader would understand the words to mean when reading the condition in the context of the other conditions and of the consent as a whole. This is an objective exercise in which the Court will have regard to the natural and ordinary meaning of the relevant words, the overall purpose of the consent, any other conditions which cast light on the purpose of the relevant words, and common sense. It is not right to regard the process of interpreting a planning permission as differing materially from that appropriate to other legal documents.

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Permission on Erroneous Basis

March 27th, 2018 by James Goudie QC in Planning and Environmental

In R (Thornton Hall Hotel Ltd) v Wirral MBC (2018) EWHC 560 (Admin) unconditional and permanent planning permission for the erection of three marquees on a green belt site was quashed where it had been granted on an erroneous basis, namely the omission of conditions including a five-year time limit which had clearly been envisaged by the local authority’s planning committee in approving permission. To allow the marquees to remain in place would subvert the public interest in the integrity of the planning process. Read more »