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High Court Refuses Permission to Challenge the International Advanced Manufacturing Park Area Action Plan by Way of Judicial Review

Mark Westmoreland Smith

Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council are promoting a 150ha International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) for automotive suppliers on land adjacent to the Nissan manufacturing plant in Sunderland.

The Nissan plant produces over one third of the cars made in the UK. It is critical both to the region and the country. The Councils jointly produced and adopted an Area Action Plan (AAP) to guide the development of IAMP. The AAP forms part of the Councils’ development plans and releases much of the IAMP site from the Green Belt.

A landowner, whose land is proposed to be compulsorily acquired for the purposes of IAMP, challenged the AAP by judicial review claiming that the Inspector examining the AAP had fallen into error by failing to properly consider the impact of the a proposed bridge on the development potential of his land.

The application for judicial review was initially refused on the papers. The landowner renewed. In an ex tempore judgment after in effect what was a full hearing, Mr Justice Ouseley held that the Inspector had not erred in law. He had considered bridge and found it to be sound both in terms of concept and location. As such he had not needed to go on to consider the impact on the development potential of the landowner’s land for the purposes of the examination in public. In doing so, he had been doing a courtesy to the landowner and no more.

Mark Westmoreland Smith acted for the Councils in defending this application for judicial review.