High Court Rules Reasons Required When Discharging Conditions
In R (Newey) v South Hams DC  EWHC  Admin, the High Court (Garnham J) quashed a grant of planning permission and a decision to discharge conditions enabling the construction of development in Dartmouth.
The first ground on which the claim succeeded was that the Council failed to give reasons for the delegated decision to discharge a condition requiring approval of a Construction Method Statement (‘CMS’). Reasons were required. The decision was one taken pursuant to a general authorisation (as opposed to a specific delegation as in Shasha v Westminster City Council  EWHC 3283 (Admin)), and was likely to affect the rights of the claimant at common law and, on the facts of this case, under A1P1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Reasons were therefore required under Regulation 7 of the Openness in Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014. On this basis the decision to discharge the condition requiring the approval of the CMS, and a subsequent s 73 variation incorporating the CMS, were quashed.
The planning permission was also quashed on the basis that the Council had either misconstrued or failed to have regard to paragraphs 120 and 121 NPPF. The judge rejected the submission that those paragraphs of the NPPF relate only to ground conditions on site, rather than instability resulting from construction works.
The judgment will have important ramifications for local authority decisions taken under general delegated authorities.
A copy of the decision is available here
Charles Streeten represented the successful Claimant instructed by Abigail Walters and Sarah Hollis of Shakespeare Martineau.