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News and Resources

Below is a selection of news items, case notes, articles, books and papers authored by members of Chambers.

There is also a separate Archive of Inspector’s Reports in respect of applications to register new town or village greens.

Douglas Edwards QC, planning and environmental law barrister at Francis Taylor Building
Jeremy Pike, planning and environmental law barrister at Francis Taylor Building
Ned Westaway, planning and environmental law barrister at Francis Taylor Building

Court of Appeal Rejects Appeal Against Registering School Land as a Village Green (and Allows Appeal in Favour of Registering NHS Land)

In an important conjoined appeal (Lancashire CC v SSEFRA and Bebbington and Jones v NHS Property Services Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ 721 – judgment here) the Court of Appeal has clarified the scope of the principle of “statutory incompatibility”, derived from R (Newhaven Port and Properties Ltd) v East Sussex CC [2015] UKSC 7. On that principal issue, Lindblom LJ (with whom Jackson and Thirlwall LJJ agreed) upheld the decision of Ouseley J in the Lancashire case that a school field could be registered notwithstanding that it was held for statutory purposes under, among other things, s.8 of the Education Act 1944 and s.14 of the Education Act 1996.  He held that those provisions were “general in their character and content” and did not give rise to the “inevitable clash” identified by the Supreme Court in Newhaven.  Lindblom LJ also observed that the principle “must … be exercised with care, and only when the need to do so truly arises” (para.36).  The corollary was that the Court allowed the appeal in the NHS case, finding – in disagreement with Gilbart J – that the relevant statutory provisions on health relied upon were also insufficiently specific in nature. Read more

Richard Honey, public and environmental law barrister at Francis Taylor Building

Estate Regeneration CPO Confirmed

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government has confirmed the London Borough of Brent (South Kilburn Regeneration Phase 2 - Land North of Chippenham Gardens) Compulsory Purchase Order.  The CPO provided for the acquisition of various interests in order to redevelop land for housing, including affordable housing, as part of the South Kilburn Estate regeneration programme.  The regeneration of South Kilburn is a fifteen year programme that is approximately half way through.  The programme will deliver around 2,400 new homes of which 1,200 will be made available for social rent for existing South Kilburn secure tenants.  The CPO scheme will deliver 52 new homes, including 22 affordable homes, as part of that programme.  Read more

James Pereira QC, planning and environmental law barrister at Francis Taylor Building

London Housing Estate Regeneration CPOs Confirmed

The Secretary of State has recently confirmed two housing estate regenerations CPOs.  In Bexley, the next phase of the regeneration of Peabody’s Thamesmead Estate has been given the go-ahead by the confirmation of the London Borough of Bexley (Binsey Walk etc) Thamesmead CPO 2017.  The scheme will deliver a net increase of well over a thousand new homes on just under 10 ha of land in this important Opportunity Area under the London Plan, and maximise the opportunities created by the new Crossrail station at Bexley.  Meanwhile, in Hackney, the Colville Estate CPO was confirmed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in late January 2018.  This will facilitate the delivery of nearly a hundred new market and affordable homes, and is the latest in the London Borough’s on-going regeneration programme. Read more

Gary Grant, licensing barrister at Francis Taylor Building

Calderdale Council Fight off Crown Court Challenge to Hackney Carriage Cap

In a relatively rare Crown Court appeal, Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council has successfully defended their policy of capping the number of hackney carriage licences permitted to operate in Halifax at 37. A challenge to the Council’s policy was brought by Mr Geoffrey Fielden, a former Deputy Mayor of the Council, who wished to operate a fleet of 8-seat “taxi-buses” into and around Halifax town centre. The buses would follow an established route of stops but could deviate from it and accept passengers who hailed the taxi-bus. Read more

Planning Law Survey 2018 - Counsel of Choice

Francis Taylor Building is delighted with Planning magazine’s Planning Law Survey 2018.  With 15 silks and 12 juniors named in the survey, Francis Taylor Building’s barristers remain counsel of choice for many.  This includes a top rating for Michael Humphries QC as the leading infrastructure barrister Top rated silks are Hereward Phillpot QC, Morag Ellis QC, Michael Humphries QC, James Pereira QC, Simon Bird QC, Alexander Booth QC, Douglas Edwards QC, Saira Kabir Sheikh QC, Craig Howell Williams QC, Richard Phillips QC, Robin Purchas QC, Gregory Jones QC, Suzanne Ornsby QC, Andrew Fraser Urquhart QC, Andrew Tait QC. Read more

Douglas Edwards QC, planning and environmental law barrister at Francis Taylor Building
Jeremy Pike, planning and environmental law barrister at Francis Taylor Building

Inspector Rejects New Village Green in Marlborough

Following a public inquiry held in January 2018, an inspector has recommended rejection an application made to register an area of open land at Barton Park, Marlborough, as a new village green. The application was objected to by Wiltshire County Council, as landowner, and by Marlborough College, who own adjoining land. The basis of the objection, and of the Inspector’s recommendation, was that the application land had been acquired, and subsequently held, by a predecessor local authority to the County Council expressly as “amenity open space” and, as such, the land must have been acquired pursuant to one of the suite of statutory powers by which land may be taken and held by a local authority for recreation purposes. Use of such land is therefore “by right” rather than “as of right”, following the decision of the Supreme Court in Barkas. The Objectors also produced substantial planning evidence to demonstrate that the application land was intended to perform the function as recreational open space to serve the wider Barton Park estate, of which it was a part. The Inspector’s report demonstrates how planning history can be direct and decisive relevance to the outcome of a TVG application. Read more

Douglas Edwards QC, planning and environmental law barrister at Francis Taylor Building
Ned Westaway, planning and environmental law barrister at Francis Taylor Building

Large Hotel and Office Development Approved in Farringdon.

By a decision letter of 20 March 2018, an Inspector has allowed an appeal by Endurance Land and Whitbread for a large new hotel and office development at the north end of Farringdon Road, near to its junction with Mount Pleasant and Rosebery Avenue. The London Borough of Islington had refused planning permission on the basis, in particular, that a hotel use was not appropriate in policy terms in this location, the absence of residential floorspace on site and impact on the townscape and on heritage assets. The Inspector concluded that that a hotel use was appropriate in policy terms, having regard to its location within the CAZ and its proximity to Farringdon Station, in particular, and that residential floorspace on site was not required. The Inspector also concluded that the townscape at Farringdon Road displayed considerable variety and that the development proposed had an acceptable impact on the prevailing character, as well as on heritage assets, which included the Rosebery Avenue CA, the Clerkenwell Green CA and various listed buildings, including the neighbouring Grade I Finsbury Health Centre. Read more

Katherine Barnes, planning and environmental law barrister at Francis Taylor Building

Success for Pensioner in Dispute before the Upper Tribunal About the Interpretation of the State Pension Credit Regulations 2002

In 2012 Mr G, a pensioner, was found by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (“SSWP”) to be entitled to state pension credit (“SPC”), a benefit designed to assist pensioners on low incomes. The SSWP subsequently decided that Mr G was in receipt of “notional income” from his personal pension plan such that he was no longer entitled to SPC (it was later decided that the amount of SPC to which Mr G was entitled should be significantly reduced). The First Tier Tribunal (“FTT”) allowed Mr G’s appeal against this decision, finding that the funds which Mr G was entitled to withdraw from his plan amounted to “capital” rather than “income.” This was because they would deplete Mr G’s pension pot overall. Read more

Richard Glover QC, planning and environmental law barrister at Francis Taylor Building

Sem Logistics Milford Haven Ltd v Webb - Major Contractor’s Basis Appeal in the Upper Tribunal

The Upper Tribunal has handed down its decision in SEM Logistics v. Webb, [2018] UKUT 0019 (LC), a major contractor's basis appeal relating to the rateable value of a former oil refinery re-used as an oil storage depot.  The appeal raised issues of valuation principle and judgement relating to: Costs at stage 1 – in particular, the cost of aluminium roof tanks, which had been omitted from the VOA Costs Guide The role of a “modern equivalent” in a contractor's basis valuation The component elements of a modern equivalent oil storage depot The scope for making under-utilisation allowances in a contractor's basis valuation The aim of the capital stages of a contractor's basis valuation The calculation of allowances for the hereditament’s excess operating costs Allowance for the tenant’s obligation to repair and maintain rateable assets of no use to him. Read more

Charles Streeten, planning barrister at Francis Taylor Building

95 Dwelling Scheme Refused on Appeal in South Cambs

South Cambridgeshire District Council has successfully resisted an appeal by Gladman Developments Limited against their refusal to grant planning permission for a 95 dwelling scheme on the edge of Linton. South Cambridgeshire cannot at present demonstrate a 5 year supply of housing land and, for this reason, has struggled to defend housing development proposals on appeal. Since 2014 nine housing developments of between 20-200 dwellings have been approved on appeal in the district. Read more