Posted by: westlancashirerecord | November 10, 2016

Planning Cases

A district council claims it has seen the number of people sanctioned for breaching planning laws almost treble since it streamlined its approach to enforcement.

South Northamptonshire Council (SNC) southnorth said that between April 2014 and the end of March 2015 it issued 22 formal planning-related enforcement notices. That rose to 62 enforcement notices in 2015/16 “and the trend for the current financial year continues to demonstrate the council’s robust approach” it said.

SNC said it had adopted a more flexible approach to the way it managed its resources, swapped cumbersome files for a ‘paperlight’ approach, and prioritised a collaborative approach ahead of formal legal action.

Cllr Roger Clarke, the council’s portfolio holder for planning and environment, said “People who build new development without permission and ignore the rules that others spend valuable resources to respect, are blighting the lives of their neighbours and the character of the district and should be aware that we have an energetic team of people ready to hold them to account. But one of the things that sets us apart is that we are also willing to work with developers, large and small, to find solutions before delays affect the viability of their projects.”

And two developers have lost their attempt to judicially review Hertfordshire County Council’s hertscounty grant of planning permission for a recycling site. Birchall Gardens and Tarmac argued the permission had been wrongly given but Mr Justice Holgate dismissed their arguments in Birchall Gardens LLP & Anor, R (on the application of) v BP Mitchell Ltd & Ors [2016] EWHC 2794.

The case concerned planning permission given to waste firm BP Mitchell Limited for an inert waste recycling facility near Welwyn Garden City, where it already worked on the basis of temporary planning permissions. Hertfordshire’s Waste Site Allocations Document identified the site as potentially suitable for uses including recycling inert waste.

It is bisected by the boundary between East Hertfordshire and Welwyn Hatfield districts, both of which had adjacent sites potentially earmarked for housing in their plan documents. These sites are owned by Birchall Gardens with whom Tarmac Trading intended to enter an agreement to combine them as the Birchall Gardens Suburb.

Birchall Gardens and Tarmac argued that Hertfordshire had failed to require adequate screening for the waste site, had failed to secure a detailed assessment of its impact on potential adjacent housing and had misinterpreted its green belt policy. But Mr Justice Holgate justhol concluded that since neither local plan proposed to allocate the land for housing – but simply referred to it as having the potential to be allocated in a subsequent development plan document to be tested through that process “I do not consider that draft emerging policies of this nature…could qualify as cumulative development [and] it follows that this issue did not have to be taken into account in the screening decision and therefore could not be the subject of a reasons challenge”.

He also dismissed the other grounds offered. Each claimant was ordered to pay £10,000 towards Hertfordshire’s costs even though the case was conducted as if there had been only one claimant. “In this case each of the claimants had a separate interest in the subject matter and wanted to be a participant in the litigation” the judge said, adding “I also bear in mind the scale of the litigation and the considerable costs to which the defendant has been put. “


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