QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF|
|HENRY CARL JEEVES AND RACHEL BAKER||(CLAIMANTS)|
|GRAVESHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL||(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)
MISS NATASHA PETER (instructed by the Gravesham Borough Council) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
Crown Copyright ©
Wednesday, 10th May 2006
"Planning permission for the stationing of one mobile home and a touring caravan was refused on this site in February 2004. This refusal was subsequently appealed and was determined in December 2004 by means of dismissal. In accordance with Section 70A of the Principal Act this Authority [is] declining to determine your application due to the fact that it is submitted within the two year period from which the Secretary of State determined a similar application. ...
I would further comment that when Mr Baker called at these offices, before he purchased this site from Mr Smith, he was advised by my Planning Enforcement Officer of the planning situation and given a copy of the enforcement notice. It was explained to him that this was a confirmed enforcement notice and of the actions required by 6th September to clear the site."
"(1) A local planning authority may decline to determine a relevant application if -
(a) any of the conditions in subsections (2) to (4) is satisfied, and
(b) the authority think there has been no significant change in the relevant considerations since the relevant event.
(3) The condition is that in that period the Secretary of State has dismissed an appeal -
(a) against the refusal of a similar application, or
(b) under section 78(2) in respect of a similar application."
"an application for planning permission for the development of any land."
"(a) the development plan so far as material to the application; and
(b) any other material considerations."
"(a) for the purposes of subsections (2) and (4) the refusal of a similar application; and
(b) for the purposes of subsection (3) the dismissal of the appeal."
"An application for planning permission is similar to another application if (and only if) the local planning authority think that the development and the land to which the applications relate are the same or substantially the same."
"5. Section 70A(2) defines applications as 'similar' if they relate to development and land which are, in the opinion of the local planning authority, the same or substantially the same."
"The Government's intention in introducing this section was to allow authorities to prevent repetitive planning applications from being used to wear down the resistance of local communities. Authorities should use the power only where they believe that the applicant is intending to exert pressure by submitting repeated similar applications. If an application has been revised in a genuine attempt to take account of objections to an earlier proposal, it should not be regarded as 'similar' for the purposes of this section.
6. A change in the development plan or another material consideration will be 'significant' for the purposes of this section if it might be expected significantly to alter the weight of any planning consideration of importance in the decisions taken by the local planning authority and/or the Secretary of State. If the weight of the evidence was such that the decision taken by the authority and/or the Secretary of State was only marginally inclined towards refusing the proposal, the amount of change which will significantly alter the weight will be less than if the original decision(s) had been clear cut."
"21. ... Although this was not a case of a single applicant making repeat applications to 'wear down' the local planning authority, I considered that there was a clear link between Mr Smith's unsuccessful application to renew the temporary planning permission, and the Claimants' application. In Mr Jeeves' letter dated 10th September 2005, he referred to a meeting with the Council's Senior Enforcement Officer, Mr John McCann, in March or April 2005. I understand that at that meeting, which the Claimants and Mr John Baker attended, Mr Jeeves was handed a copy of the Inspector's decision of December 2004 together with the enforcement notice, and was told that the site had to be cleared by September 2005. Following a site visit by the Council's Senior Enforcement Officer, a letter was sent, addressed to the occupiers of the Land, on 8 April 2005 to confirm the effect of the Enforcement Notice.
22. According to the Land Registry the site was acquired on 29 April 2005 by Mr John Baker (whom I understand to be the father of Ms Rachel Baker, the Second Claimant), and transferred to the Claimants on 21 December 2005."
"The purchase and occupation of the site was therefore carried out either very shortly before, or after, the Claimants became aware of the existence of an enforcement notice which would require them to move off the site. The Claimants continued to occupy the site after the enforcement notice came into effect, notwithstanding their knowledge that they were not entitled to do so.
23. In my view the occupation of the site was carried out or continued in defiance of the advice provided by the Council, and this amounted to comparable circumstances to those mentioned in Circular 14/91. I did not consider that this was a 'doubtful case' and therefore did not consider that the 'benefit of the doubt' should be applied in this case."