Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 13, 2016

Judicial Review of the Parrs Lane Planning Inquiry Decision

In a meeting of the West Lancashire Borough Council Cabinet held this evening it was decided to seek a Judicial Review of the Parrs Lane Planning Inquiry Decision. Held in a closed session the details will remain confidential and will be confirmed at a special meeting of Full Council in a week when costs will be formalised and approved.

It seems that the reasoning, as explained by Cllr John Hodson johnhod Portfolio Holder for Planning, is based on S 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 – TCPA 1990.

Case law suggests that up until 2015 there was has been no general filter system to weed out unmeritorious statutory challenges to planning appeal decisions (s.288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 – TCPA 1990) tcpa1990 and to other planning related actions, decisions and orders. This is in notable contrast to challenges by way of judicial review (JR) to the grant of planning permissions and enforcement notice appeal decisions.

However, this anomaly in relation to planning statutory review (PSR) is removed by section 91 and schedule 16 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, from 26 October 2015, subject to transitional provisions (see the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 (Commencement No. 3 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2015). These provisions will introduce a new front loaded approach and culture in respect of such challenges based on current JR procedure, as set out in Practice Direction 8C (PD 8C).

Practitioners should also note that there is specific provision for appeal in respect of PSR in CPR 52.15B and PD 52B. As well as introducing the new requirement for permission for PSR, these provisions change the procedure for challenging planning costs award decisions. Challenges on cost decisions arising in planning appeals have previously, somewhat confusingly, been by way of JR. This is in spite of the fact that the lawfulness of the substantive decision could itself only be challenged by way of the statutory procedure.

The relevant statutory challenges (termed PSR) for which permission is now required are set out in Schedule 16 (which amended Part 12 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 – TCPA 1990) and include: (1) Challenging the validity of orders, decisions and directions under section 288 of the TCPA 1990. Section 288 is the mechanism for challenging the determination of a planning appeal. (2) Challenging highways orders (made under ss.247, 248, 247, 251, 257 and 258 TCPA 1990) pursuant to s. 287 TCPA 1990. (3) Challenging various decisions relating to listed buildings under section 63 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Area) Act 1990. (4) Development plan document challenges and challenges relating to other strategies, plans and documents under section 113 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase 2004. (5) Challenging decisions relating to hazardous substances applications pursuant to section 22 of the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Act 1990. The new requirements do not apply where the relevant date of the action, decision or order to be challenged is before the 26 October 2015 (see article 4 of the Order).

The test is the usual one of whether the grounds disclose an arguable case. Residents of the entire Borough should be thanking this Labour Council for its efforts to bring a challenge against developers who will cherry pick sites in areas where they can make the most profit. The Tory Local Plan that gave us unbalanced and disproportionate development is facing a review that residents will welcome.


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