Lane J has rejected a challenge to planning permission for housing granted in Hayle, Cornwall. Between the resolution to grant permission and the issue of the formal decision notice, the Defendant Council decided to withdraw from promotion of a roundabout improvement scheme in Hayle. The Claimant, Hayle Town Council, argued that this was a change of circumstances that could have led the Council’s Planning Committee to change its mind and refuse planning permission for the proposed housing, and that because the Council did not reconsider the application the planning permission should be quashed. Lane J rejected the challenge, holding that the change of circumstance would have made no difference to the decision to grant planning permission.
This case applies the line of cases starting with R (Kides) v South Cambridgeshire DC. An unusual feature is that the Council argued that the case officer did not know and could not reasonably have known of the Council’s decision to withdraw from the roundabout scheme, and that his senior officer’s name appeared on the decision notice only as a formality.
Part of the Kides principle is that even if the new matter was realistically capable of causing the Council to reach a different conclusion, this would not cause the planning permission to be quashed if the officer delegated to issue the planning permission was not aware and could not reasonably be expected to be aware of the change of circumstances.
Although this submission would have made no difference to the result in this case (because Lane J held that the change in circumstances would not have led the Committee to change its mind) the judge considered the Council’s contention, and rejected it. His reasoning was that the senior officer knew of the changed circumstances and there was no evidence of sub-delegation by her; she granted the planning permission. Also, she should have been aware of the reasons why the Committee resolved to grant the permission, so if the Committee’s decision had been affected by the roundabout scheme she should have known that they might have changed their minds once informed about the Council’s decision to withdraw from the scheme.
The judgment is available here.