R (Thornton Hall Hotel Ltd) v Wirral MBC and Thornton Holdings Ltd [2019] EWCA Civ 737

When this case was decided in the High Court, many in the profession expressed some surprise that the court had entertained an application for judicial review of a planning permission more than five and a half years after its grant, and had duly quashed the permission. The Council had resolved to grant a permission for event marquees for a limited period of five years (together with many other conditions) but the decision notice contained no conditions. The Court of Appeal has upheld the decision. It did so on the basis that the (complex) circumstances were “unique” “most exceptional” indeed “wholly extraordinary”. It confirmed previous cases on extensions of time in planning cases, and set out the present law in relation to those principles (paragraph 21). The Court concluded that “This is a case where it can truly be said that the exception proves the rule”. The Court also extended the principle of cases such as Norfolk County Council and Taff-Ely. —where permissions issued without any authority were quashed—to “the review of decisions where the permission would have been lawful but for the local planning authority’s failure to set out in its decision notice the conditions it had decided to impose, and so was in breach of the statutory code, and unlawful, because it failed to do that”. Click here to view the judgement. Christopher Lockhart-Mummery QC of Landmark Chambers acted for the Appellant.  

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