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Planning permission quashed ... six years after grant

06 Jul 2018

In a judgment which has raised many eyebrows across the planning sector, the Court decided that planning permission could be quashed six years after it was granted. 

This was the 2018 case of R (oao Thornton Hall Hotel Ltd) v Wirral BC & Thornton Holdings Limited.  The case concerns a planning permission for three marquees granted in December 2011.  The Council’s Planning Committee had resolved that planning permission should be subject to various conditions, the most relevant of which was that the marquees should be removed after five years.  However, the decision notice itself did not contain any conditions due to an administrative error. 

The applicant’s planning agent spotted this but did not raise the point with the Council.  The associated s106 enshrined the five year term and over the following five years, the applicant did apply to discharge some of the conditions which the Committee had resolved to impose (but which did not actually make it onto the decision notice itself).

The marquees were not removed after the five year period and a nearby competitor challenged the grant of planning permission.  The High Court granted a six year extension to bring the claim and quashed the planning permission as void. 

The judgment demonstrates that the Court is reluctant to let developers benefit from a local planning authority’s clear administrative mistake.  It would be prudent to deal with any administrative issues relating to the planning permission at the time of grant. 

For more information and advice on any planning matter, please contact Chloe Karamian in our Planning team.

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