QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|MICHELE CHRISTOPHER LUIGI VALENTE||(CLAIMANT)|
|THE FIRST SECRETARY OF STATE||(FIRST DEFENDANT)|
|THURROCK BOROUGH COUNCIL||(SECOND DEFENDANT)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MR J LITTON (instructed by the Treasury Solicitor) appeared on behalf of the FIRST DEFENDANT
MR D EDWARDS and MR H PHILLPOT (instructed by Thurrock Borough Council, Grays, Thurrock, Essex, RM17 6SL) appeared on behalf of the SECOND DEFENDANT
Crown Copyright ©
"On such an application the local planning authority shall consider only the question of the conditions subject to which planning permission should be granted, and -
(a) if they decide that planning permission should be granted subject to conditions differing from those subject to which the previous permission was granted ... they shall grant planning permission accordingly, and
(b) if they decide that planning permission should be granted subject to the same conditions as those subject to which the previous permission was granted, they shall refuse the application."
Subsection (4) provides:
"This section does not apply if the previous planning permission was granted subject to a condition as to the time within which the development to which it related was to be begun and that time has expired without the development having been begun."
"15. There is no dispute that, when granting permission, the Council regarded the need for enabling development to secure the restoration and repair of the two Listed Buildings as constituting very special circumstances needed to overcome the normal presumption against inappropriate development in the Green Belt. These works were to be secured by means of a Section 106 Agreement. It emerged during the Inquiry that the requirements of the Agreement relating to St Clere's Hall had been fulfilled and that those relating to the Barn had also been substantially completed. That being the case, it seems to me that there is no need for further enabling development and that there are therefore no longer any very special circumstances that might outweigh the harm that the hotel development would cause to the Green Belt by reason of its inappropriateness.
"16. I have taken account of the Appellant's argument that development of the golf course and hotel needs to be seen as a whole and that the latter is needed to finance works to the listed buildings that have already been carried out. However, both parties agreed at the Inquiry that the Section 106 Agreement was not tied to the building of the hotel and could be enforced regardless of whether or not that part of the development proceeded. Consequently I do not accept that the repairs to the listed buildings formed part of a package that included the hotel and that the Appellant therefore had a legitimate expectation that the Council would renew the outline permission.
"17. Furthermore, there was no information before the Inquiry (in terms of bills or receipts) to show what the completed works to the Listed Buildings had actually cost. The Appellant had carried out much of the work himself, without the use of contractors, and the evidence produced at the Inquiry consisted of a surveyor's estimate of what the work would have cost were it to be carried out today. I consider that, in the absence of details of the actual costs incurred, the Appellant has failed to establish that the amount of enabling development, including the hotel, was the minimum necessary to secure the future of the heritage asset.
"18. For the reason given above, I consider that the need for enabling development, which the Council regarded as very special circumstances when it granted outline permission in 1995, no longer exists. I consider that there has, therefore, been a material change in planning circumstances since that approval was granted. As a consequence my conclusion on this issue is that, as there are no longer any very special circumstances that would outweigh the presumption against inappropriate development in the Green Belt, variation of the conditions is not justified."