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Decision makers and development plans

Projects portrait1Christopher Lockhart-Mummery QC highlights the key issues arising out of a High Court ruling that quashed the Secretary of State’s dismissal of a developer’s appeal.

In Tiviot Way Investments Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2015] EWHC 2489 (Admin), two issues arose of some general importance.

First, the Secretary of State had dismissed an appeal (against the recommendation of the Inspector) on the basis of the development’s non-compliance with one policy in the development plan.

Applying well-established principles in a robust fashion, Patterson J agreed with the submission that the decision-maker needs to make a finding as to the development plan as whole as being “an essential part of the decision making process, so that not only the decision maker but also the reader of the decision letter is aware and can understand that the duty imposed under section 38(6) has been discharged properly by the decision maker”.

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Second, the role of a key or strategic diagram in interpreting the extent of a green wedge (in the present case) was discussed, it being held that the appeal site was “clearly” not within the green wedge.

The claimant’s case was assisted by obtaining disclosure of advice of officials to the effect that the department would be unlikely to be able to defend the decision in the courts.

Christopher Lockhart-Mummery QC is a barrister at Landmark Chambers and appeared for the claimant in this case. He can be contacted This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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