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Knight v. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2009] EWHC 3808 (Admin)

DATE: 03 Dec 2009

This was a challenge to an Inspector's decision to refuse planning permission for a dwelling in the Green Belt on a site where a dwelling had been located until 1959 before it had been destroyed in a fire and had not been replaced subsequently. The Claimant contended that the Inspector had wrongly failed to take into account that the site was previously developed land, the use of which for housing is promoted in PPS3 Housing. The Claimant also contended that the refusal of planning permission was an unjustified interference with his right to respect for his home under Article 8 ECHR.

King J dismissed the claim, holding that:
(1) Policy in PPS3 promoting the use of previously developed land was not intended to undermine policy in PPG2 on Green Belts. They worked alongside, not against, each other. The proposal in the present case was inappropriate development in the Green Belt for which very special circumstances did not exist and the fact that the site may have been previously developed land did not make it acceptable.
(2) It was highly questionable whether Article 8 ECHR was engaged given that the Claimant had not established his home at the site - the site was a only potential home.
(3) Even if Article 8 were engaged, the continued protection of the Green Belt absent very special circumstances was a proportionate interference with Article 8 rights in the public interest.

Charles Banner represented the successful Defendant, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (instructed by the Treasury Solicitor).