Shortly before Christmas, Jonathan Darby successfully secured the quashing of a planning permission granted by Chester West & Chester Council for the demolition of the existing boathouse (Class D2) and erection of a Watersports Hub (Class D2) with associated parking, access, landscaping and plant at Lower Park Road, Chester.
The judicial review challenge succeeded on a ground alleging procedural unfairness, after the Council had published on its website – on the day of the relevant Planning Committee meeting itself – a document that included highly relevant information in relation to the public use of the proposed development (that the facilities would “be accessible to member of the general public”). Public use of the ‘watersports hub’ was an issue that had formed a central part of the local resident Claimant’s representations at the application stage. Crucially, the Council had also previously asserted that use of the facilities would “not be open to the public” and would be restricted to members of certain rowing and community clubs only.
Notwithstanding that background, and without further consultation, the Council’s officer had considered that information did not alter the use class classification of the facility (D2) or the basis of Officer’s assessment of the appropriateness of the use in its location.
In his judgment, HHJ Raeside QC sitting at Leeds Administrative Court described the additional information as constituting a ‘volte-face’ when compared to what the Council had previously suggested in terms of the limitations of public use.
Sykes v Cheshire West & Chester Council (CO/2352/2017)
Jonathan Darby was instructed by David Walton of Walton & Co.