QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
London WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF HYDRO||Claimant|
|SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT||Defendant|
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Mr G Lewis (instructed by Tsol) appeared on behalf of the First Defendant
Mr S Stemp (instructed by Spelthorne Borough Council) appeared on behalf of the Second Defendant
Crown Copyright ©
i. "The making of an unauthorised change of use of the Land, namely unauthorised change of use from residential to a mixed use of residential and an Adults Private Members' Club together with the installation of various outbuildings, covered walkway, marquee-style structure and shed within it, and laying of hardstanding to create car park."
i. "The development represents inappropriate development in the Green Belt for which no very special circumstances have been demonstrated. It results in the site having a more urban character, diminishes the openness of the Green Belt and conflicts with the purposes of including land within it. It is therefore contrary to Policy GB1 of the Spelthorne Borough Local Plan 2001 and Section 9 (Protecting Green Belt Land) of the Government's National Planning Policy Framework 2012."
i. "Cease the use of the site as a mixed use of part Adults Private Members' Club and part residential, and revert it back to its lawful use as a single family dwellinghouse.
ii. Remove the hardstanding in the car park from the site and reinstate the land to grass.
iii. Remove the outbuildings, and shed in car park, from the site.
iv. Remove the covered walkway, and marquee-style structure and shed within it, from the site.
1. (All as shown on attached plan)."
i. "Paragraph 79 of the Framework indicates that the fundamental aim of GB policies is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open.
ii. The first of the five GB purposes is to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas. The courts have confirmed that openness simply means the absence of buildings or development."
i. "As with previous Green Belt policy, inappropriate development is, by definition, harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved except in very special circumstances."
1. "A local planning authority should regard the construction of new buildings as inappropriate in the Green Belt."
i. "When considering any planning application, local planning authorities should ensure that substantial weight is given to any harm to the Green Belt. 'Very special circumstances' will not exist unless the potential harm to the Green Belt by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm, is clearly outweighed by other considerations."
i. "I have found that the hardstanding and other structures referred to in the notice were part and parcel of and integral to the unauthorised use and it is not clear that they could be provided as ["permitted development"]. It is therefore appropriate for the notice to require their removal in order to remedy the breach and restore the land to its condition prior to that breach. The change of use brought with it the requirement for an extensive car parking area and the other structures and the change of use is inappropriate development in the GB in its own right. It is not therefore excessive to require the unauthorised use to cease."
(i) The operational development was carried out as part and parcel of, or as an integral part of, the use complained of; and
i. (ii)That operational development was not undertaken for a different and lawful use and could be used for that lawful use if the unauthorised use were to cease.
i. "The evidence concerning when the various items were installed is provided principally in the form of statutory declarations, submitted in support of an application for a certificate of lawfulness (LDC). These indicate that all of the relevant works were undertaken after the unauthorised use commenced and much of the work was done by the appellant's 'Facilities Manager'."
i. "Its size makes it extremely unlikely that it was provided in connection with the lawful residential use."
i. "Whether these structures would have been provided even if the change of use [ie to the mixed use] had not taken place."
i. "On the second point, the Inspector accepted and/or concluded that the buildings were to some extent used for both a lawful residential use and a club use. So, in respect of the north western GRP shed, he noted a 'ride-on mower, freezers, a barbeque and general storage', similarly he noted that the north eastern GRP shed was 'in use as a tool shed and workshop' and that the shed within the marquee 'housed a vacuum cleaner and cleaning materials': he concluded '[t]hese 3 sheds could be used in connection with the residential use' (DL11). In respect of the wooden building (marked at item 7 at B/61), the Inspector considered that 'Mr Tattersall may undertake other personal business in the office' (DL13). In respect of the covered walkway (item 5), he considered its primary purpose was for club members but acknowledged '[d]oubtless it would also have benefitted Mr Tattersall's partner [as residential occupier in accessing the stable block for private hobby pruposes]' (DL16). The Inspector also did not rule out the dual use of the marquee-style structure (item 1) for use as a private cinema connected with the residential use (DL18) or that another two sheds (item 8) 'could have a dual use' (DL19)."
i. "A decision that removal of [the operational development in question] was necessary to remedy that breach could be expected (...) to satisfy the requirement that any restriction be proportionate."
i. "The hardstanding and numerous other structures installed as part of the change of use substantially reduce openness on the site."
i. "The reduction in openness is a consideration quite separate from visual impact and having regard to the wording of paragraph 79 of the Framework, it contributes to urban sprawl. These factors add to the harm by reason of inappropriateness."
i. "Whilst no harm beyond Green Belt harm has been identified, the framework indicates that substantial weight must be given to any harm to the Green Belt. That harm must be clearly outweighed by other considerations if it is to be justified by very special circumstances."
i. "(...) leaves room for genuine as opposed to forensic doubt as to what he has decided and why. This is an issue to be resolved as the parties agree on a straightforward down to earth reading of his decision letter without excessive legalism or exegitical sophistication."
(i) Decision letters are addressed to parties well aware of the issues involved and arguments deployed at the inquiry and so it is not necessary to rehearse every argument in the decision letter (see paragraph 26);
(ii) It would be an unjustifiable burden to require the decision-maker to deal with every material consideration and there is no obligation to do so. The duty to give reasons only applies to the main issues in dispute or the principal important controversial issues (see paragraphs 24, 27 and 34);
(iii) Reasons can be briefly stated. To be challenged there must be something 'substantially wrong or inadequate' in the reasons given (see paragraph 25);
(iv) The burden lies on the claimant to show that there is a lacuna in the reasons given 'such as to raise substantial doubt as to whether the decision was based on relevant grounds and was otherwise free from any flaw in the decision-making process' which would afford a public law ground for quashing the decision, but such adverse inferences will not readily be drawn (see paragraph 36).
i. "I heard from a number of people who clearly derived significant enjoyment from using the club and arguably, in some cases, health benefits. However, none of them lived locally and in some cases they travelled significant distances to use the club."
i. "Overall the analysis was flawed in that it inappropriately curtailed the Appellant's case on need to focus on the surrounding village alone and failed to have regard to the wider demand for the appeal facility."