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Judge declines to quash planning permission despite ministerial concession

A High Court judge has upheld a planning inspector’s decision to grant permission on appeal to a developer for a 32-dwelling scheme in Worcestershire, despite the Communities Secretary conceding that the decision should be quashed.

The case of Wychavon District Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & Anor [2016] EWHC 592 (Admin) related to land at Walcot Meadow, Walcot Lane, Drakes Broughton, Pershore, Worcestershire.

The district council sought – pursuant to section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 – to challenge the planning inspector’s decision of 4 August 2015.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government subsequently conceded that the decision should be quashed but had “chosen not to appear….and has not explained why or how he has reached that view”, Mr Justice Coulson noted.

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The interested party, Crown House Developments, maintained that there was no basis on which the inspector's decision should be challenged.

Mr Justice Coulson concluded that the inspector had applied the right test, he had taken into account all material considerations; and he did not take into account any immaterial considerations.

“Furthermore, even if I was wrong about that, I am in no doubt that, even allowing for any corrections, the inspector would have reached the same decision,” the judge said.

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