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Martin v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2015] EWHC 3435 (Admin)

DATE: 27 Nov 2015

In this claim under s.288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Claimant alleged that the Inspector had failed to comply with the duty to give reasons since he had not expressly dealt with the Claimant’s and English Heritage’s complaint that the material provided by the developer with its planning application and subsequent appeal did not contain sufficient information regarding the significance of heritage assets affected by the proposed development, contrary to paras. 128-129 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Dismissing the claim, Lindblom LJ (sitting in the Planning Court) accepted the Secretary of State’s submission that the sufficiency of information on heritage assets was not a “principal important controversial issue” engaging the duty to give reasons, but was instead a subsidiary issue. The “principal important controversial issue” regarding heritage was whether and if so to what extent the development would affect the heritage assets in the vicinity. The Inspector had given rational reasons on that issue and it was necessarily implicit from them that he considered that he had sufficient material (including what he saw on his site visit) to reach an informed conclusion. Lindblom LJ also noted that NPPF paras. 128-129 were in any event non-prescriptive as to the information to be provided on heritage assets and held that the level of information necessary will vary from case to case.

Charles Banner acted for the Secretary of State, instructed by the Government Legal Department.