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Council defeats Planning Court challenge over grant of permission for development of studio buildings conversion

The owner of a Grade II listed Georgian manor has failed in a judicial review over planning and listed building consent for two neighbouring properties.

In Kinnersley, R (On the Application Of) v Maidstone Borough Council [2022] EWHC 1825 (Admin) HHJ Karen Walden-Smith, sitting as judge of the High Court, held that Maidstone Borough Council had acted properly.

Glenn Kinnersley, the owner of Hollingbourne House, challenged the council over permission for the development of Courtyard Studios.

Its owner Paul Dixon gained consent to partly demolish the building and build two homes and make various renovations in the grounds.

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The sites concerned are owned by Mr Dixon but fall within the grounds of Hollingbourne House and the curtilage of the listed building.

Mr Kinnersley contended that Maidstone’s decision was unlawful and ought to be quashed because it erred in its interpretation of the local plan policy on development on brownfield land, was inconsistent in its approach to the assessment of the contribution to the setting of the listed building made by the existing buildings and was flawed in the assessment of heritage impact.

He also argued that Maidstone failed to take into account as a material consideration the potential for a sensitive conversion of the front studio building as a dwelling.

Maidstone countered the judicial review was misconceived and the arguments raised on behalf of Mr Kinnersley were either merits challenges or founded on merits challenges.

Ms Walden-Smith dismissed Mr Kinnersley’s entire case.

She said: “In summary: Ground 1 fails as there was no misinterpretation of policy [in] the local plan…Ground 2 fails as there was no material misdirection contained within the officer’s report; Ground 3 fails as it amounts to an attack upon the planning officer's assessment and evaluation of the impacts of the proposed development as set out in the [report] ; Ground 4 also fails as it is an attack upon a planning judgment, the alternative proposal having been considered but only briefly.”

Mark Smulian

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