QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF SPENCER CHISNELL & LINDA CHISNELL||(CLAIMANTS)|
|LONDON BOROUGH OF RICHMOND UPON THAMES||(DEFENDANT)|
|TOM DILLON||(INTERESTED PARTY)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
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(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MR D KOLINSKY (instructed by RICHARD BUXTON) appeared on behalf of the CLAIMANTS
MR T MOULD (instructed by LEGAL SERVICES, RICHMOND UPON THAMES LBC) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
THE INTERESTED PARTY DID NOT APPEAR AND WAS NOT REPRESENTED
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"The proposed separate residential unit is out of character with and detrimental to amenities of the area and neighbouring occupiers, and would be likely to lead to unacceptable manoeuvring of vehicles on and off the highway resulting in harm to users of such vehicles and other users of the highway.
"The proposal is thereby contrary to policies HSG 11 of the Adopted Unitary Development Plan 1996 and HSG 11 of the Emerging UDP First Review."
"The proposed side extension, being tantamount to a separate residential unit, is out of character with and detrimental to the amenities of the area and neighbouring occupiers, and would be likely to lead to unacceptable manoeuvring of vehicles on and off the highway resulting in harm to users of such vehicles and other users of the highway. The proposal is thereby contrary to policies ENV 19, HSG 11 and TRN 23 of the adopted Unitary Development Plan and BLT 11, HSG 11 and TRN 2 of the emerging Unitary Development Plan First Review."
"In respect of the amenity issues whilst I note that the previous schemes were not refused on grounds of harm to residential amenity I would point out that these earlier applications were refused under officers' "delegated powers."
She went on to add:
"Members themselves have not had the opportunity to consider these amenity issues."
"One important reason why previous decisions are capable of being material is that like cases should be decided in a like manner so that there is consistency in the appellate process. Consistency is self-evidently important to both developers and development control authorities."
Mann LJ went on to add:
"But it is also important for the purpose of securing public confidence in the operation of the development control system. I do not suggest, and it would be wrong to do so, that like cases must be decided alike. An inspector must always exercise his own judgment. He is therefore free upon consideration to disagree with the judgment of another but before doing so he ought to have regard to the importance of consistency and to give his reasons for departure from the previous decision."
"Previous refusals - delegated cttee?
Cttee hasn't refused on aesthetics."
"Difficult to overturn decisions made by Council."
"I do not recall the exact words of all parties at the Planning Committee but from the Committee clerks written notes it appears that when Mr Brown was asked what weight the Committee could give to the previous decisions to refuse planning permission, having regard, in particular, to the lack of any objection to the two previous scheme[s] in relation to the physical impact of the proposed extensions on neighbours, Mr Brown said that it would be difficult now to take a different view in relation to the Proposed Development."
I pause only to say that is exactly in accordance with the note. But Mr Summers goes on to say:
"I understood Mr Brown to mean that the two recent planning decisions concerning a similar form of development must be material considerations, particularly if there had been no significant change in circumstances since those decisions were taken. He did not, however, advise members that they could not take a different view to officers on this aspect."
"Unneighbourliness - can it be taken into consideration?"
Then underneath, what may again be some advice tendered or an observation made by somebody:
"Not a new part of scheme - difficult."
Again the independence of judgment which could be exercised in this regard has not been emphasised.
" - previous concern re use
- need material change in circumstances."
As to that one can obviously go back to Mr Summers' own statement, page 41, paragraph 18 where he says:
"I also advised members, given my knowledge of the site, that the two previous refusals centred on the likely harmful impact of the use and occupation of an additional dwelling at the Site. I also advised that there would, in my opinion, need to be a material change in circumstances to introduce a new ground for refusal at this stage based upon the physical impact of the Proposed Development upon neighbouring occupiers. I did not, however, advise that no weight could be given to third party objections regarding the size and bulk of the addition proposed."
"Mr Roy Summers, Area Planning Officer said that the previous concerns had been only about the use as a separate dwelling house and that to introduce new grounds it would need to be shown that there had been a material change in circumstances."
"... permission to develop the said land in accordance with the said application is hereby GRANTED subject to the conditions and informatives summarised and listed on the attached schedule."
"This decision has taken into account the relevant policies of the Unitary Development Plans and all other material considerations where appropriate. Full reasons are given for the imposition of any conditions attached to this notice. For a full understanding of the reasons for reaching this decision reference should be made to the application report and any accompanying minutes. Minutes are only relevant if the application was considered by the Planning Committee. The following have been taken into account in the consideration of this proposal... [and it then listed various references to the plans and policies.]"