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In the news:- Judge refuses application to judicially review council’s decision

Judge refuses application to judicially review council’s decision
24 August 2017

Judge refuses application to judicially review council’s decision

Basildon Council has welcomed the refusal by a High Court Judge yesterday (Wednesday 23 August 2017) of an application to judicially review the council’s decision not to determine a traveller’s planning application for land west of Hovefields Avenue, Wickford.

The council had strongly contested Michael Smith’s application to judicially review the council’s decision.

His Honour Judge Waksman QC agreed with the council’s argument that its decision was lawful.

The council had used the planning power not to determine the application because enforcement notices had already been served to remove unauthorised development that had already taken place on the land.

Parliament introduced this legal measure to prevent delays in the ability to enforce planning notices and to avoid further attempts to have the planning merits determined via the application and appeal processes.

Mr Smith argued that he should have the right to submit an application because he was the new owner of the site and unaware of the notices served on the previous owner.

The judge’s reasons for refusing permission make it clear that the onus falls on new purchasers of land to make all proper enquiries.

The council has been awarded all costs claimed which amount to around £5,000.

Cllr Callaghan, Basildon Council’s chairman of the policy and resources committee, said: “The Judge's decision yesterday vindicates the council's decision to take clear and decisive action within the powers available to us to enforce planning notices.

“We take this issue extremely seriously and our officers and the administration are working around the clock on a number of planning breaches across the borough, wherever they occur.

"So serious are we taking this issue, the council is continuing to direct additional resources to enhancing our enforcement capacity. This will ensure that whilst we cannot predict what a High Court Judge will decide on any given day, the clearest message possible is sent out to anyone and everyone in the borough, that we have a zero tolerance approach to planning illegalities and we will do everything in our power to ensure the full force of the law is used."

Mr Smith still has the right to have this decision reconsidered at an oral hearing if he requests it within seven days of service of the order.

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