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Council concedes High Court challenge to grant of prior approval over failure to undertake sufficient inquiries

A council has conceded a High Court challenge to its grant of prior approval for a maize storage bunker and effluent tanker on a farm, over its failure to undertake sufficient inquiries for the purposes of establishing that the application was for permitted development within the class.

According to 39 Essex Chambers, the farm was neighbouring, and within the setting of, the claimant’s property, the Grade II* Listed Gillow Manor.

The set said the challenge against Herefordshire Council was brought on three grounds:

  1. Misdirection as to Class A, Part 6 of Schedule 2 of the GPDO 2015;
  2. Unlawful retrospective development in breach of the GPDO and contrary to the principle in Winters v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government [2017] PTSR 568; and
  3. Insufficient inquiry into compliance with the statutory requirements contrary to the principles set out by the court in the recent case of R (Smolas) v Herefordshire Council [2021] PTSR 1896.

Permission was granted by the High Court on grounds 2 and 3 on 3 December 2021.

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Herefordshire conceded on ground 3. The Consent Order can be viewed here.

39 Essex Chambers said: “The case is an important application of recent case law principles as a result of Smolas and serves as a warning to local planning authorities that the court will intervene where insufficient inquiry is made into applications for prior approval.”

Daniel Stedman Jones of 39 Essex Chambers acted for the successful claimant, instructed by Richard Buxton Solicitors.

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