Court could not overturn due decision of Planning Commitee

Salford Estates (No 2) Ltd R (on the application of) v Dalton Park Ltd [2013] illustrates the degree of independence that planning committees of Councillors have to ignore the recommendations of the Council’s planning officers when it comes to making a planning decision.

In applying for judicial review a claimant must show that the Councillors have either behaved irrationally (arrived a decision which no reasonable body of Councillors would have arrived at) or failed to take account of a material consideration. So long as they take account of that material consideration the degree of weight they give to it is their own affair. In matters of planning judgement it’s not for the Court to substitute it’s own views of the planning merits.

The Judge applied a cricket analogy. So long as the Captain has abided by the rules, how successfully or otherwise he sets the field is down to him.

Also the Committee had correctly interpreted and applied what needed to be considered under the “Sequential Test” for prioritising sites in Government Planning Guidance PPS4 and had appropriately required a planning obligation under Section 106 Town & Country Planning Act 1991 to be entered into to bind the development site. They had given correct consideration to the availability of that Agreement. Despite it’s emphasis on the provision of local benefits rather than the development itself, it was a relevant consideration as it directly related to the development making it more acceptable within the locality for all it’s scale and nature,.

So the Court declined to quash the Planning Committee’s decision to grant permission for the supermarket.

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