High Court rules on local authorities’ power to make standing orders in relation to voting

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R (Spitalfields Historic Building Trust) v London Borough of Tower Hamlets and Old Truman Brewery Ltd [2022] EWHC 2262 Admin. A judgement given by Morris J on 31st August 2022 provides guidance on the scope of local authorities’ power to make Standing Orders, in this case related to voting.  This power arises under the Local Government Act 1972, Schedule 12 para 42. A planning application by Old Truman Brewery Ltd was deferred by the Development Committee. When the application was returned to the Committee for determination, the Committee applied provisions in the Council’s Constitution which prevented Committee members not present when the Committee first discussed the application from voting at the deferred meeting. Also, the Committee did not allow members of the public (including the Claimant, the Spitalfields Historic Building Trust) to speak at the deferred meeting. The Committee resolved to grant permission. On the Claimant’s application to quash the planning permission, Morris J held that the Constitutional provisions excluding Committee members from voting when the application came back before the Committee comprised Standing Orders “for the regulation of the proceedings and business” of the Council, and were therefore were covered by the power in Sch. 12 para 42. The judge also rejected the Claimant’s submission that the permission should be quashed because its representatives had not been allowed to address the Committee at the deferred meeting, as well as a third ground claiming that the Council had failed to consider policies in the Draft Spitalfields Neighbourhood Plan. Timothy Corner QC and Yaaser Vanderman appeared for Old Truman Brewery Ltd, the Interested Party. Press here to access the judgement.

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