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Liverpool Open Spaces Judicial Reviews Succeed on Heritage and Open Space Grounds

Ned Westaway
Charles Streeten

The High Court has allowed two claims for judicial review brought by the Liverpool Open and Green Spaces Society (“LOGS”).

The claims challenged two grants of planning permission for developments (one a housing scheme and the other to enable a miniature railway to be moved to provide land for the housing scheme) in Calderstones Park, Liverpool. 

The claims were allowed on two grounds. 

Firstly, Kerr J held that the Liverpool City Council (“the Council”) had failed to discharge its duty under section 66 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Notwithstanding the fact that the officer's report to committee referred to section 66(1) and paraphrased it "with reasonable accuracy", the effect of the report read as a whole did not fairly present the heritage impact of the development; for example it failed to refer at all to the internal consultation from the Council's conservation team raising “strong conservation objections”; the Judge held that the effect was to play down the requirement to give considerable importance and weight to harm to the significance of listed buildings.

Secondly, the Court held that the Council had misconstrued Green Wedge policy in the Liverpool Unitary Development Plan. Specifically, the Judge accepted the submission that development that harms the openness of the green wedge conflicts with the policy. He accepted the analogy with the case law on Green Belt, whilst recognising that the two policy designations were distinct.

Having allowed the claims, Kerr J made orders for costs against both Liverpool City Council andthe Interested Party, Redrow Homes.

Ned Westaway represented the claimant on the first ground and Charles Streeten represented the claimant on the second ground; they were instructed by E. Rex Makin & Co.

Both the Council and the Interested Party were granted permission to appeal.

The judgment is available here.