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PLA Wins Important Case Concerning River Thames

Douglas Edwards QC

An Inspector has allowed an appeal made by the Port of London Authority and London River Services (a subsidiary of Transport of London) against an enforcement notice issued by the City of Westminster concerning the use of Temple Pier. Part of Temple Pier is used by a leisure/party boat operator as a embarkation and disembarkation points and to moor its vessels when not in use. Westminster City Council served an enforcement notice alleging that the use of the mooring to moor vessels when not in use was a breach of planning control; the City Council accepted that mooring vessels to allow passengers to embark and disembark and to service vessels was lawful. The mooring is owned by LRS and the river bed beneath the mooring is owned by the PLA. The PLA and LRS argued that the mooring of vessels when not in use was part of, or incidental to, the use of the River for navigation and otherwise could not properly be said to involve a material change of use of the River. The Inspector accepted that no vessel was in perpetual motion and vessels could not operate for legitimate purposes on the River without mooring when not in use. He held that the use of the mooring for the disputed was not a breach of planning control. The decision contains some important observations on planning unit and the extent of the lawful use of the River.

Douglas Edwards appeared for the PLA and LRS jointly.