Community Donations

June 15th, 2016 by James Goudie KC

It is wrong for a LPA to treat as a material consideration in determining an application for planning permission an offer by the applicant to make an annual community donation which could be used for anything which benefitted the local community. The donation does not serve a planning purpose.  It is off-site and is not related to land use.  The application considered in Wright v Forest of Dean District Council [2016] EWHC 1349 (Admin) was for permission for a wind turbine.  The donation would derive from the profits made out of the operation of the turbine.  Nonetheless the offer had no real connection with the development and was not fairly and reasonably related to it.  It did not regulate how the development might operate.  It did not address any impact on infrastructure.  It did not make the development more attractive.  The potential applications of the donation were too wide-ranging and too open-ended.  The donation being for community benefit did not necessarily mean that it was a material planning consideration.

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