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Update on Blagrove Lane Travellers

Posted by Stephen Newton on August 16, 2016 at 3:50 AM

The applicants challenged the Planning Inspectorate’s decision. The basis of the challenge is: The Inspector has erred in law - he has said that a planning obligation for financial contributions is required and in fact the Council said it was not. 

Until this matter is resolved the enforcement notice (To vacate) does not come into effect and hence the 9 month time scale for compliance has not commenced.

The permission hearing was scheduled for 14 July 2016 in the High Court. (We appologise for the late notice on this. There was a disconnect in communications)

For information on process:

The decision on permission can be handed down at the hearing itself.

However it is much more likely is that this is handed down separately, following detailed consideration by the Court. The process of drafting a Judgment normally takes 1-4 weeks. 

    1. If permission is refused, the appellants have the right to request that the decision is reconsidered at an oral renewal hearing within 7 days (except where the case is considered “totally without merit”;). The Planning Court aims to hear oral renewal hearings within 1 month of this request.
    2. If permission is granted, the matter will be entered into the warned list. Matters in the warned list are normally heard within six to nine months. The Planning Court considers statutory reviews a matter of priority, and aims to hear them within six months of issue. Therefore the target date for the substantive hearing would be mid-October 2016.
    3. If the Court refuses the appellants’ claim, it is possible for the appellants to seek leave to appeal from the Court of Appeal. This would depend on the content of the Judgment. The appellant would once again need permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal. In broad terms, if permission is granted, the overall Court of Appeal process normally takes between 6 months – 1 year.
    4. If the High Court agrees with the appellants, this will not necessarily have the effect of reversing the Planning Inspectorate’s decision. The Court does not necessarily have to quash the decision, but the normal process is that the matter is returned to the Inspectorate for reconsideration.

 

However; The Planning Inspectorate has accepted that the Inspector erred in law and that he has reached the unsupportable conclusion that a unilateral undertaking was required where that was not advanced. The Government Legal Service are therefore proposing to concede the appeal, and agree a form of Order by which the decision is remitted to an Inspector for re-hearing.

It therefore seems that the way forward will be that the appeal decision is invalid and there will be a further appeal hearing. The enforcement notice continues to be held in abeyance.

The good news is that the injunction is still in force so they cannot bring any further caravans onto the land.

It does take a long time to resolve these issues so please be prepared for the unauthorised use to continue for some time.

It’s not great but we are completely reassured that WBC officers are doing all they can.

They are as frustrated about this situation as we are.

 

 


Thank you to Mark Ashwell for this update. Note: I have edited the response - without changing the facts or message.

Categories: Notices, News

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