QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|LAND AND DEVELOPMENT LTD||(APPELLANT)|
|FIRST SECRETARY OF STATE||(RESPONDENT)|
Smith Bernal Reporting 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 MORGAN QC (instructed by Treasury Solicitors) appeared on behalf of the RESPONDENT
Crown Copyright ©
"The Secretary of State fails to take into account and weigh in the planning balance the consequences of refusing the scheme or give any reasons as to why the balance favoured refusal of the scheme site."
"There is no dispute about the importance and vulnerability of Oak Mere, and that the continued drainage of the site towards Oak Mere during and after the proposed development would be potentially harmful to the Mere's value for nature conversation."
That recognised what had justified the recovery of jurisdiction: the importance and vulnerability of the Mere. The Secretary of State for his part recorded that he agreed with the inspector about the importance and vulnerability of the Oak Mere and that drainage arrangements for the site needed to be effective to divert drainage of the site away from the Mere.
"... as there are sufficient reasons to refuse planning permission on other grounds, he has not required further information [in regard to that drainage proposal]."
"The adverse impact would be likely because it is already evident that the drain leading to Oak Mere from the appeal site has been a source of nutrient enrichment and that the near natural water quality of the Mere has over recent years become enriched with nitrates, phosphates and other contaminants."
"This would be a substantive benefit [by which I think he meant either substantial or at least significant] given that the deterioration of water quality in the Mere has in part been attributed to the existing drainage system."
"If the judge concluded that the matter was 'fundamental to the decision,' or that it was clear that there was a real possibility that the consideration of the matter would have made a difference to the decision, he was thus enabled to hold that the decision was not validly made. But if the judge was uncertain whether the matter would have had this effect or was of such importance in the decision-making process, then he did not have before him the material necessary for him to conclude that the decision was invalid."
Mr Morgan points to the very modest weight that appears to have been placed upon this potential benefit in the evidence placed before the inspector and in the final submissions made to the inspector by Mr Manley who appeared for the claimant at the inquiry as well as before this court.