Posted by: westlancashirerecord | July 22, 2018

Legal Costs For Parrs Lane

I asked WLBC  about the “Appeal Ref: APP/P2365/W/15/3132594 Land to the east of Prescot Road, Aughton, Ormskirk, Lancashire . Decision 1. The appeal [by Wainhomes/Redrow] is dismissed” and any associated decisions. Would you be kind enough to supply me with a) the full cost, including all legal advice and legal representation, to WLBC of defending the appeals, and defending the applications to develop the land referred to above and b) was the full cost mentioned in a) above awarded to WLBC on the presumption that costs follow the case?

WLBC replied “I refer to your request to be provided with the full cost, including all legal advice and legal representation, to WLBC of defending the Parrs Lane appeals. The Council is unable to provide an accurate figure for the “full cost”, as it does not generally record officers’ time spent on dealing with applications and appeals, given these are part of their normal workload.

However, the Council has paid Counsel’s fees for legal advice and representation in the sum of £81,248.35 in connection with the two joint planning inquiries held in 2016 and 2018. Of that figure, 44,592.75 was incurred in connection with the first inquiry and £36,655.60 for the second inquiry. Costs do not follow the event at planning inquiries and, generally, they are only awarded if a party behaves unreasonably and puts the other party to unnecessary expense. No such applications were made at the two inquiries.

Following the receipt of the first decision in August 2016 (it was a joint inquiry with Redrow, the second being published in December 2016) following the inquiry in May 2016, the Council successfully challenged the decision to grant planning permission for the Wainhomes development. As part of those proceedings, and as costs do generally follow the event in civil proceedings, the Council successfully recovered its costs in the sum of £37,511.50, so there was no cost to the Council for challenging the decision.

There is an ex gratia scheme for re-determination inquires where the Secretary of State decides, on the basis of legal advice, not to defend a challenge brought and submits to the Court’s judgement (see previous paragraph). In such circumstances the Secretary of State will consider what went wrong and whether an ex gratia payment in respect of the costs of the redetermination is appropriate. Following the receipt of the redetermination of the appeals decisions in March 2018, the Council submitted a claim for Counsel’s fees in the sum of £36,655.60. Further, as part of that claim, the Council has included a claim for officer time. The latter was recorded for this second inquiry, as the Council was aware of the ex-gratia scheme and that it would be able to submit a claim under it. The total sum which has been claimed is £51,962.60. A decision is awaited.


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