Were claimants “persons aggrieved” under Section 288 of the Planning Act?

Under Section 288(1)(b) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (“the 1990 Act”) “any person [who] is aggrieved” by a decision on appeal under s.78 of the 1990 Act may make a Section 288 application challenging the decision in court. The leading authority on the meaning of “person aggrieved” under Section 288(1)(b) is the decision of the Supreme Court in Walton v Scottish Ministers [2013].

In Crawford-Brunt & Anor v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government & Anor [2015] the Claimants said that as owners of properties adjoining the appeal site the Claimants had a sufficient personal interest in the outcome of the appeal. Accordingly they should both be treated as “aggrieved persons” within the meaning of Section 288(1)(b).

Here a planning inspector had allowed an appeal against the refusal by Waverley Borough Council to grant outline planning permission. This was an application pursuant to Section 288 challenging the decision of the inspector.

The Planning Court said the words “person aggrieved” in Section 288(1)(b) must be interpreted in accordance with Walton.

In Walton Lord Reed said:

“That persons will ordinarily be regarded as aggrieved if they made objections or representations as part of the procedure which preceded the decision challenged, and their complaint is that the decision was not properly made……

That there are circumstances in which a person who has not participated in the process may none the less be ‘aggrieved’: where for example an inadequate description of the development in the application and advertisement could have misled him so that he did not object or take part in the inquiry…

Ordinarily, however, it will be relevant to consider whether the applicant stated his objection at the appropriate stage of the statutory procedure, since that procedure is designed to allow objections to be made and a decision then to be reached within a reasonable time, as intended by Parliament.”

The Planning Court held that the Claimants were not “aggrieved persons”, as they had not hitherto actively participated in the appeal process.

This blog has been posted out of general interest. It does not replace the need to get bespoke legal advice in individual cases.