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Richard Langham

Call: 1986
Email: rlangham@landmarkchambers.co.uk
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7430 1221
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Practice Summary

Richard Langham specialises in town and country planning, highways law, environmental law and compulsory purchase and compensation, acting for local authorities, developers, amenity groups and individuals.

In relation to planning, he has experience of most forms of development.  In recent months he has appeared at public inquiries into proposals for quarrying, significant housing development and caravan sites.  He has particular experience of enforcement, including by prosecution and injunction, and often obtains interim injunctions, including injunctions against persons unknown.  He is regularly instructed to oppose development by gypsies and to act in enforcement cases against gypsies.  As a result he has had occasion to consider many GTAAs and their deficiencies.  He has recently appeared at local plan examinations into proposals to allocate land for gypsy sites.

Richard’s advisory work covers all aspects of planning work and related property law.  He has often advised on s106 agreements, permitted development rights, immunity claims and development agreements.  Increasingly he is asked to advise on CIL, and particularly the concept of ‘commencement’.  He appeared in the only Court of Appeal case on the meaning of r123 of the CIL Regulations.

Richard is often instructed in footpath cases and has appeared at many DMMO inquiries.  On several recent occasions he has drafted objections which have caused surveying authorities to reject DMMO applications.  He is often asked to advise and act in cases raising the more abstruse aspects of highways law, including recently the drafting of TROs, obligations under the NRSWA 1991, the sufficiency of user evidence, the extent of dedication and the true meaning of ‘as of right’, ‘bringing into question’ and ‘without interruption’.

Richard has been involved in significant litigation concerning the need for and the requirements of environmental assessment: one of his cases led to a change to the EIA Regulations.  He has also acted in many cases concerning the impact of noise, and the intricacies of the measurement of noise.  Many of his recent planning inquiries have involved noise issues and he has recently acted in both criminal and civil proceedings concerning alleged noise nuisance.

Richard often acts in compensation claims and advises on the compensation code, including, in the last few years, the different versions of ss14-18 of the Land Compensation Act 1961.  He has significant experience of settlement negotiations and has assisted in achieving highly satisfactory outcomes for clients.

Richard is qualified to accept public access instructions and has conducted inquiries and High Court litigation on a public access basis.

Planning

Richard’s practice covers all aspects of planning law.  He has appeared at numerous public inquiries, including recent appeals concerning major housing developments, gypsy sites (see below), seasonal caravan sites, quarrying, waste transfer and disposal sites and retail and leisure developments.  Richard is often instructed in s288/289 challenges and judicial reviews of local authority decisions.  His recent Court work has included the only Court of Appeal decision on the meaning of r123 of the CIL Regulations (R (Oates) v Wealden District Council [2018] EWCA Civ 1304) and Flintshire County Council v Jayes [2018] EWCA Civ 1089, the most recent Court of Appeal decision on the duty to treat the best interests of children as a primary consideration in planning decisions.

Richard has considerable familiarity with enforcement issues, including claims of immunity, the correct drafting of enforcement notices and criminal liability, including confiscation.  He has recently appeared in cases concerning non-compliance with enforcement notices, unauthorised works to listed buildings and the felling of protected trees.  He has extensive experience of applications for injunctions and committal orders, notably against gypsies (see below).

His recent advisory work has included cases involving the interpretation of planning permissions and conditions, the planning status of non-gypsy caravan sites, site licensing, the controls imposed by the Mobile Homes Act 1983, the interpretation of the GPDO and the interpretation, variation and enforcement of planning obligations.  He has advised numerous clients on CIL, particularly the meaning of ‘commencement’ and the implications of the removal of r123 of the 2010 Regulations.

In several recent cases he has drafted effective objections to planning applications for amenity groups and individuals on a public access basis.

Richard has expertise in those aspects of property law which commonly arise in planning cases, especially easements, rights of access, restrictive covenants, conditional contracts for the purchase of land, development agreements and overage clauses.  He provided advice on existing use rights to the successful tenant in S Frances Ltd v Cavendish Hotel [2018] UKSC 62.

Richard is author of Conditions and Planning Obligations (CLT 1996).

Gypsies and Travellers

Richard has a particular expertise and reputation in relation to gypsies and travellers.  He has appeared in many of the important cases on gypsy law, starting with R v Lincolnshire CC ex p Atkinson [1997] JPL 65 (the duty to carry out welfare inquiries) and the much publicised Court of Appeal case First Secretary of State, Doe and Yates v Chichester DC [2005] 1 WLR 1248.   He appeared in the leading cases establishing the present law on planning injunctions against persons unknown (South Cambridgeshire DC v Persons Unknown [2005], South Cambridgeshire DC v Gammell [2006] JPL 873 and Broxbourne BC v Robb [2011] EWCA 1355).  He has appeared at numerous inquiries concerning gypsy sites, including recently in Epping Forest, Elmbridge, Basildon, East Herts and Cherwell.  He has obtained many pre-emptive and final injunctions against gypsy caravans, recently for sites in Three Rivers, St Albans, Stafford, Dudley, Barking and Dagenham, Rochester and Basildon.

Richard regularly advises local authorities and objectors on the interpretation of current national policy and on the robustness of GTAAs.  He recently appeared at local plan examinations into proposed allocations of land for gypsy sites in Croydon and Lewes.

Richard frequently speaks at seminars on gypsies and planning law.

Highways, footpaths and utilities

Richard’s practice covers highways and the rights and obligations of statutory undertakers. He has appeared at many DMMO inquiries.   He has recently advised on the difference between dedication at common law and under s31, the interpretation of s31 in light of Godmanchester, the physical extent of dedication, the strength of user evidence, private street works, town and village greens, frontagers’ rights, the ownership and diversion of undertakers’ apparatus and compensation for landowners affected by undertakers’ works.  On two recent occasions he drafted objections which caused highway authorities to reject DMMO applications.  He is currently advising on the approach to be taken to claimed footpaths in Greater London, where the definitive map provisions do not apply.

Environment

Richard has expertise in those areas of environmental law related to planning, including environmental impact, environmental permitting, the Habitats Directive, flooding, contaminated land, common law and statutory nuisance and the measurement of noise.  He appeared in the only reported High Court case on litter abatement orders under s91 of the EPA 1990.  He acted for Bath and North East Somerset Council in R (Baker) v BANES [2009] JPL 1498 and [2013] EWHC 946 (Admin), litigation which led to the amendment to the EIA Regulations.  He appeared for the successful planning authority in R (Larkfleet) v South Kesteven DC [2015] EWCA 887 (Civ), concerning the scope of the ‘project’ for EIA purposes and the adequacy of the consideration of cumulative effects.  Recently he acted for the successful defendant in a rare private prosecution for noise nuisance under s82 of the EPA 1990 (Sokol v Cauldwell Properties and Cantillon Ltd) and for the successful appellant in an appeal against an abatement notice which alleged nuisance from creaking caused by footfall in an upper flat.

Compulsory purchase and compensation

Richard has appeared at many CPO inquiries, both for acquiring authorities and objectors, concerning a broad range of schemes.  He is regularly instructed in compensation claims and is very familiar with Upper Tribunal procedure and the intricacies of the compensation code.  He appeared for the successful acquiring authority in Potter v Hillingdon LBC [2010] JPL 1330 and in the associated case of Hall v Hillingdon LBC [2015] UKUT 606Within the last year he has acted for claimants in two references which were satisfactorily settled.  One involved a limitation claim, value to a special purchaser and the true scope of the ‘scheme’ (the land was taken for highway purposes but its value had already been enhanced by other highway works).  The other involved designing a detailed scheme of appropriate alternative development, taking into account planning policies and site conditions in the distant past, for the purpose of pursuing a s18 appeal (Trustees of Bolder Bridge Lane Trust v Barnsley MBC [2017] UKUT 0081 (LC)).

Qualifications

Richard read Jurisprudence at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he was an Exhibitioner and winner of the Winter Williams Law Essay Prize.

Inquiries

Oxted Chalkpit, Chalk Pit Lane, Oxted

21/01/2020

Three day ROMP inquiry considering conditions to be imposed in an old planning permission for the extraction of chalk.

The only access to the site was along a steep and winding lane.  In places it was not possible for two HGVs to pass.  Nevertheless in recent years the site had generated an average of 74 HGVs movements a day, with flows on the worst days being substantially higher.  Vehicles departing from the site also travelled through the centre of Oxted in order to reach the trunk road network.  The appeal concerned three conditions proposed by the mineral planning authority, all relating to HGV movements.  There had been widespread complaint about the level of HGV movement and Councillors had imposed stricter limits than those advised by officers.  The Appellant contended that the limits suggested by the authority would affect the viability of the quarry operation but did not produce any financial evidence.

Richard Langham appeared for the mineral planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land off Clavering Walk, Bexhill

19/11/2019

Six day s78 inquiry into a proposal for up to 85 houses on the edge of Bexhill.

The local planning authority did not have a 5 year supply of housing land.  The site was attractive countryside on the edge of Bexhill and the authority contended that it should be regarded as a ‘valued landscape’ within the meaning of NPPF paragraph 170.  The site had been part of a First World War training camp for Sussex regiments and the authority argued that this was an ‘association’ relevant to valued landscape status.  Run off from the site would enter the Pevensey Levels SSSI and the Inspector was required to make an appropriate assessment for the purposes of the Habitats Regulations.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land off Merton Road, Ambrosden

20/08/2019

Three day s78 inquiry into a proposal for up to 84 houses on the edge of Ambrosden.

The application was by Gladman Developments.  It was accepted that the Council had an adequate supply of housing land (the requirement being for a 3 year supply).  The relevant policy in the adopted local plan provided that in Category A villages, which included Ambrosden, ‘a total of 750 houses’ would be delivered.  At the time of the inquiry planning permission for precisely 750 houses in Category A villages had been granted, including 129 in Ambrosden.  Of the 750, 271 had been built.  Despite accepting that ‘the figure of 750 must have some form of constraining effect’, the Inspector found that the proposal would not cause any harm to the strategy of the local plan.  A legal challenge to the decision was unsuccessful.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Lewes Local Plan

05/04/2019

Examination of a proposed allocation of land on the edge of Plumpton as a gypsy caravan site.

The allocation was being promoted in a ‘part 2’ site allocations plan, intended to implement the policies in a strategic plan.  The strategic plan was based on a GTAA carried out under the old definition of ‘gypsies and travellers’ and no further GTAA had been carried out.  Local residents argued that it was inappropriate to make any allocation in the absence of an assessment which established a need for pitches for ‘gypsies and travellers’ as now defined and that, in promoting the allocation, the local planning authority was acting in breach of the PPTS.

Richard Langham appeared for the local residents.

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Inquiries

Land at Widnell Lane, Piddington, Bicester

26/03/2019

Six day s78 inquiry into a proposal for six pitches for gypsy caravans in open countryside, 1km from the village of Piddington.

The site was next to a MoD training area and local residents had consistently complained about noise from this.  The application was accordingly refused on the basis that the noise from the training area made the site unsuitable for residential use.  The authority also alleged that the site was distant from services, the only bus service being suitable only for shopping trips.  The Inspector requested the MoD to give evidence at the inquiry.  The MoD witness, however, had never heard or been present at any training activity on the training area: the only witnesses with actual experience of noise from the training area were those called by the Parish Council.  The Inspector granted planning permission.

Richard Langham appeared for Piddington Parish Council.

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Inquiries

Land at Headley Road, Hindhead, Surrey

26/07/2018

The proposal was in an existing built up area with no special designations. The issues were the bulk and massing of the new building and its effect on the character and appearance of the area and on residential amenity.  The appeal was dismissed.

Richard Langham appeared for the appellant.

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Inquiries

Land at Rowney Lane, Ware

15/05/2018

Seven day s78/s174 appeal concerning one pitch for gypsy caravans on land in the rural area beyond the Green Belt but within the setting of a listed building.

A new local plan was adopted during the course of the inquiry.  It continued a policy accepting gypsy sites in the rural area beyond the Green Belt provided certain criteria were met.  The local planning authority resisted the appeal on the basis of distance from services alone, even though it had previously resisted development on the site for landscape reasons.  Local residents raised impact on the landscape and harm to the setting of the listed building, a medieval priory rebuilt as a gentleman’s residence in the nineteenth century.  The residents also contended that the surrounding countryside, including the appeal site, had been laid out as parkland when the priory was rebuilt, and as such was an undesignated heritage asset.  The Inspector found that there was harm to the landscape and the setting of the listed building but that the personal circumstances of the Appellant justified a personal permission.

Richard Langham appeared for the local residents, the Friends of Rowney Lane.

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Inquiries

Land at Alba Stables, Bridge Way, Cobham

05/12/2017

S174 inquiry concerning use of an extensive site for the laying of hardstanding, the erection of fences, earthworks, the stationing of caravans and the storage of vehicles and materials.

Appeals were made on ground b, c and d.  There was extensive debate about the power of the Inspector to amend the enforcement notice so as to show the alleged breaches accurately.  Ultimately the enforcement notice was withdrawn and the Appellant undertook to pursue a CLEUD application.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Gray’s Avenue, Langdon Mills, Basildon

24/10/2017

S174 appeal concerning one pitch for gypsy caravans in the Green Belt.

The site was in an area of scattered residential development in the Green Belt but could be seen in extensive views of open countryside.  It was accepted that there was a high level of unmet need in the Borough, but the local planning authority was intending to allocate land for a large number of gypsy pitches in an emerging local plan.   The Inspector allowed the appeal.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Hovefields Avenue, Wickford

04/09/2017

Four day s174 inquiry concerning six pitches for gypsy caravans in the Green Belt.

The site was established over a weekend and the local planning authority obtained an injunction to prevent the stationing of further caravans.  When more arrived one of the Appellants was imprisoned for contempt (Basildon BC v Anderson 12 April 2017).  The site was in an area of plotlands and a local plan policy countenanced some development in such areas, despite the Green Belt designation.  There were some lawful gypsy pitches in the vicinity but the local planning authority had taken direct action to remove unlawful pitches elsewhere in the locality.  It was accepted that there was a high level of unmet need in the Borough, but the authority was intending to allocate land for a large number of gypsy pitches in an emerging local plan.  The development eroded a gap between two areas of development.  The Inspector granted planning permission for one pitch but upheld the enforcement notice against the other five.  A s289 challenge by the Appellant failed.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land off Common Lane, Claygate

11/07/2017

S78 inquiry concerning occupation of land in the Green Belt by gypsy caravans.

This appeal concerned one pitch for gypsy caravans on land in the Green Belt, adjoining a local nature reserve and close to footpaths.  There was no enforcement notice because an injunction required the site to be cleared if the s78 appeal failed.  The inquiry was opened but the appellants were not present, one being in custody, charged with murder.  The appeals were determined on the basis of the written proofs.  The local planning authority raised harm to the Green Belt and to the character and appearance of the countryside.   There was no 5 year supply sites for gypsy pitches.  The appeal was dismissed.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Croydon Local Plan

25/05/2017

Examination of proposed allocation of land for c36 pitches for gypsy caravans on a highways depot at Purley Oaks, Croydon.

The proposed allocation generated a high level of local opposition, with objectors contending that the site was too large and in an inappropriate urban location and that the site selection process had been flawed.  The examiner nevertheless endorsed the allocation.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Pigstye Lane, Willingale, Essex

21/02/2017

Four day s174 inquiry concerning four pitches for gypsy caravans in the Green Belt.

The site was a paddock close to residential properties in the Green Belt.  The development involved significant harm to openness and was distant from services.  The local planning authority accepted that there was a high level of unmet need in its district.  Permanent planning permission was granted.

Richard Langham appeared for a neighbouring resident.

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Inquiries

Loughborough TROs

12/01/2016

Two day inquiry into TROs needed to achieve the permanent pedestrianisation of Loughborough.

Three experimental TROs provided for the complete pedestrianisation of the centre of Loughborough for an 18 month period. The pedestrianisation had the effect of preventing buses from travelling through the town centre.  The replacement routes and bus stops were less convenient for some visitors.  Two bus operators and many objectors wanted buses to be permitted to drive through the pedestrianised area in one direction only and at walking pace.  The case involved an assessment of the overall level of access by bus with full pedestrianisation and the likely disruption to bus services if the objectors’ proposals were implemented.  The Inspector recommended that the experimental orders should be made permanent.

Richard Langham appeared for the traffic authority.

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Inquiries

Land at St Michael’s, Tenbury Wells, Hereford

15/09/2015

Two day CLEUD inquiry concerning a log cabin which replaced a mobile home. The mobile home had been used to accommodate young foreign workers and latterly the appellant.

The appellant had stationed a mobile home in a field adjoining her farmhouse (which was in mixed C2/C3 use) in 2004. She claimed that she used the mobile home to provide accommodation for young foreign workers and that this was unconnected with the use of the farm house.  In 2012 the farm house was sold and the appellant moved into the mobile home herself.  She then applied for planning permission to replace the mobile home with a log cabin.  The local planning authority purported to determine that planning permission was not required.  In reliance on this purported determination the appellant replaced the mobile home with a log cabin.  The appellant argued that the log cabin was not a building, but that, even if it was, the purported determination meant that enforcement action on this basis would be an abuse of power. The appellant further contended that the replacement of the mobile home in these circumstances could not have the effect of destroying the use rights associated with the mobile home.

Richard Langham appeared for the appellant, on a public access basis.

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Inquiries

Land at Manor View, Southend Road, Thurrock

20/01/2015

Three day s174 inquiry concerning a gypsy caravan site of four pitches in the Green Belt.

This appeal concerned four pitches for gypsy caravans in the Green Belt. The local planning authority had recently completed a GTAA: the robustness of this was debated at length at the inquiry. There was nothing like a 5 year supply of deliverable sites. The decision had been recovered but was un-recovered following the decision in Moore. The Inspector allowed the appeal – shortly before the revision to the PPTS and the introduction of the new policy on intentional unauthorised development in the Green Belt.  The local planning authority is challenging the decision. 

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Home Farm, Church Lane, Exeter

09/09/2014

This s78 appeal concerned a substantial housing development on the outskirts of Exeter. The location was part of the landscape setting of the City and the site had been rejected for allocation.  The local planning authority contended that it had a 5 year supply of deliverable housing sites, relying on a large amount of student accommodation and the terms of the Planning Practice Guidance.  The developer contended that it was only appropriate to count these units if the housing target took account of the need for student accommodation – which in this case it did not.  The Inspector held that the local planning authority’s interpretation of the Planning Practice Guidance was incorrect and that there was no 5 year supply of deliverable sites.  She granted planning permission.  Her decision was unsuccessfully challenged (Exeter City Council v SSCLG [2015] EWHC 1663).

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Connaught Avenue, Frinton-on-Sea

15/07/2014

This was an inquiry into objections to a definitive map modification order to add a footpath to the definitive map. The claimed footpath ran between two buildings.  There was good evidence of use as of right over a 20 year period, but there was also good evidence that the landowner had locked a gate blocking the way every Christmas for most of this period.  However none of the users recalled trying to use the way at Christmas.  The Inspector concluded that, because the attempts by the landowner to signify that he had no intention to dedicate had not been brought home to the public, they had been ineffective.  The decision was unsuccessfully challenged (see Ali v SSEFRA [2015] EWHC 893 (Admin)).

Richard Langham appeared for the objector, on a public access basis.

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Inquiries

Land at Mordon Bridge, Swindon

12/03/2014

This was a proposal for substantial housing development on a site identified as being of nature conservation importance. The developer offered to fund nature conservation works on another site about 20km away.  There was extensive consideration of the DEFRA ‘metric’ intended to quantify the nature conservation benefits of off-site compensation works.  There was also consideration of the approach to assessing 5 year supply where part of the need of an adjoining authority (Swindon), as yet unquantified, had to be met in the authority’s area.  The Inspector granted planning permission.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Westerleigh Road, Pucklechurch, South Gloucestershire

17/09/2013

This was the redetermination of an appeal following the decision in AZ v SSCLG [2012] EWHC 3660 (Admin).  The local planning authority had served an enforcement notice against a caravan stationed in a field in the Green Belt.  The appellant had a severe psychiatric condition which meant that he needed ready access to open space.  However he could not afford to buy a house with a large garden.  There was evidence that he might commit suicide if forced to leave the present site.  On the other hand there was also evidence that his condition might be treatable and that treatment had not been attempted.  The appellant contended that there was no 5 year supply of deliverable housing sites because the calculations of the local planning authority wrongly addressed the existing backlog on an annualised basis over the life of the Core Strategy.  The local planning authority relied on comments of the Core Strategy Inspector in a very recent report which endorsed this approach.  The appeal was allowed.  The decision was challenged and found to be seriously flawed, albeit that it was not quashed (South Gloucestershire DC v SSCLG [2015] EWCA 74 (Civ)).

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land off Humberstone Avenue, Humberstone, Grimsby

03/09/2013

This s78 appeal concerned a proposal for 400 houses on a greenfield site on the edge of a settlement. The settlement boundary was accepted as being out-of-date and the site had been identified as acceptable in a SHLAA.  The local planning authority had not established its OAHN and certainly could not show a 5 year supply of deliverable sites.  The authority contended that it was undesirable to allow the release of greenfield sites while there remained many derelict brownfield sites in Grimsby that were suitable for housing.   The case also raised the acceptability of a payment for highway improvements based on a theoretical minor easing of the geometry of a roundabout, sufficient to accommodate the increase in traffic attributable to the development.  The theoretical widening would never be carried out and the payment was tantamount to an unofficial CIL.   The Inspector granted planning permission, relying on paragraph 49 of the NPPF.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

17 Greenwich Church Street

26/02/2012

In this case an enforcement notice alleged a change of use to a mixed A3/shisha smoking use. The principal issue under ground (a) was whether the development breached a policy against the loss of A1 premises.  The Inspector effectively held that whether this policy was applicable depended on the nature of the s57(4) use.  Because this was not an A1 use he held that policy had not been breached.  He quashed the enforcement notice.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Woodman Public House, 93 Little Heath, Charlton

22/11/2011

This appeal concerned an enforcement notice served against flats on the upper floors of a public house. The flats were unacceptably small, and the principal issue was the ground (d) appeal.  The upper floors had previously been used for residential purposes, but usually in association with the ground floor public house use.  The landlord sometimes allowed them to be used by lodgers, but there was nothing to suggest that the lodgers had separate occupation of any space (they shared rooms).  The Inspector therefore found that the entire building had previously been a single planning unit, whereas now each flat was a separate planning unit.  The appeal was dismissed.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land off Birch Lane, Ascot

11/05/2011

This was an appeal against an enforcement notice concerning the stationing of gypsy caravans on a countryside site which had previously been part of a protected woodland. The gypsies felled several hundred trees in order to create their pitches.  The Council relied on the loss of trees as a reason for taking enforcement action, arguing that better replanting would be possible if the residential use ceased.  The appellants argued that the TPO was invalid because of drafting errors.  The Inspector proceeded on the basis that the TPO was valid and dismissed the appeal.  The appellants were subsequently convicted in the Crown Court for offences under s210 TPCA.

The case also raised the correct approach to European Protected Species under paragraph 99 of C6/2005 (a pre-development survey is required if there is a reasonable likelihood that protected species are present on a site). There was a reasonable likelihood that such species had been present on the site and the absence of proper survey information was held to be a good reason for taking enforcement action.  Logically the requisite survey should have considered the situation before the development enforced against was carried out.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Lye Lane, Bricket Wood, St Albans

22/02/2011

This Green Belt site had an existing club house and planning permission for a modest pavilion to serve a playing field. The appellant embarked on an ambitious scheme for a gym and leisure centre, as revealed by plans submitted for Building Regulations approval, and protested when the local planning authority served a temporary stop notice followed by an enforcement notice.  He argued that, far from taking enforcement action, the authority should have negotiated about the conditions it would impose in a retrospective planning permission.  He claimed that this approach was mandated by PPG18.  Not surprisingly he lost.  The development was subsequently demolished.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Icen Farm, Icen Lane, Bincombe, Weymouth

12/07/2010

An enforcement notice required the demolition of a half-finished building in an AONB. This had the potential to be 3 dwellinghouses.  Planning permission had been granted for an agricultural worker’s dwelling but the Inspector agreed with the local planning authority that the development materially departed from this.  He also found that the planning permission had not been lawfully implemented.  In relation to the ground (a) appeal he found that the appellant had no agricultural need for anything and that there was no other justification for permitting this development in an AONB.  Costs were awarded against the appellant.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Great Ashby, Stevenage

06/07/2010

The CPO inquiry opened the day after the Coalition government announced the cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future programme. The education authority asked for the inquiry to be adjourned while it sought alternative funding.  It then abandoned the proposal.  The Secretary of State initially declined to order the education authority to pay the objectors’ costs.  The objectors challenged his decision by judicial review and he changed his mind.

Richard Langham appeared for the objectors.

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Inquiries

Land at Black Barn, Childwickbury, Herts

29/06/2010

This inquiry concerned use of land as a waste transfer station and for skip hire. The appellant argued that the site had previously been used for the importation and processing of waste.  There had been no skip hire business but the appellant argued that this did not matter, since the use made of the skips off-site could not affect the characterisation of the use of the site.  The Inspector dismissed the appeals, holding that, at the start of the 10 year period, the primary use was not for the importation and processing of waste.

Richard Langham appeared for the appellant.

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Inquiries

Oxted Chalkpit, Chalk Pit Lane, Oxted

21/01/2020

Three day ROMP inquiry considering conditions to be imposed in an old planning permission for the extraction of chalk.

The only access to the site was along a steep and winding lane.  In places it was not possible for two HGVs to pass.  Nevertheless in recent years the site had generated an average of 74 HGVs movements a day, with flows on the worst days being substantially higher.  Vehicles departing from the site also travelled through the centre of Oxted in order to reach the trunk road network.  The appeal concerned three conditions proposed by the mineral planning authority, all relating to HGV movements.  There had been widespread complaint about the level of HGV movement and Councillors had imposed stricter limits than those advised by officers.  The Appellant contended that the limits suggested by the authority would affect the viability of the quarry operation but did not produce any financial evidence.

Richard Langham appeared for the mineral planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land off Clavering Walk, Bexhill

19/11/2019

Six day s78 inquiry into a proposal for up to 85 houses on the edge of Bexhill.

The local planning authority did not have a 5 year supply of housing land.  The site was attractive countryside on the edge of Bexhill and the authority contended that it should be regarded as a ‘valued landscape’ within the meaning of NPPF paragraph 170.  The site had been part of a First World War training camp for Sussex regiments and the authority argued that this was an ‘association’ relevant to valued landscape status.  Run off from the site would enter the Pevensey Levels SSSI and the Inspector was required to make an appropriate assessment for the purposes of the Habitats Regulations.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land off Merton Road, Ambrosden

20/08/2019

Three day s78 inquiry into a proposal for up to 84 houses on the edge of Ambrosden.

The application was by Gladman Developments.  It was accepted that the Council had an adequate supply of housing land (the requirement being for a 3 year supply).  The relevant policy in the adopted local plan provided that in Category A villages, which included Ambrosden, ‘a total of 750 houses’ would be delivered.  At the time of the inquiry planning permission for precisely 750 houses in Category A villages had been granted, including 129 in Ambrosden.  Of the 750, 271 had been built.  Despite accepting that ‘the figure of 750 must have some form of constraining effect’, the Inspector found that the proposal would not cause any harm to the strategy of the local plan.  A legal challenge to the decision was unsuccessful.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Lewes Local Plan

05/04/2019

Examination of a proposed allocation of land on the edge of Plumpton as a gypsy caravan site.

The allocation was being promoted in a ‘part 2’ site allocations plan, intended to implement the policies in a strategic plan.  The strategic plan was based on a GTAA carried out under the old definition of ‘gypsies and travellers’ and no further GTAA had been carried out.  Local residents argued that it was inappropriate to make any allocation in the absence of an assessment which established a need for pitches for ‘gypsies and travellers’ as now defined and that, in promoting the allocation, the local planning authority was acting in breach of the PPTS.

Richard Langham appeared for the local residents.

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Inquiries

Land at Widnell Lane, Piddington, Bicester

26/03/2019

Six day s78 inquiry into a proposal for six pitches for gypsy caravans in open countryside, 1km from the village of Piddington.

The site was next to a MoD training area and local residents had consistently complained about noise from this.  The application was accordingly refused on the basis that the noise from the training area made the site unsuitable for residential use.  The authority also alleged that the site was distant from services, the only bus service being suitable only for shopping trips.  The Inspector requested the MoD to give evidence at the inquiry.  The MoD witness, however, had never heard or been present at any training activity on the training area: the only witnesses with actual experience of noise from the training area were those called by the Parish Council.  The Inspector granted planning permission.

Richard Langham appeared for Piddington Parish Council.

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Inquiries

Land at Headley Road, Hindhead, Surrey

26/07/2018

The proposal was in an existing built up area with no special designations. The issues were the bulk and massing of the new building and its effect on the character and appearance of the area and on residential amenity.  The appeal was dismissed.

Richard Langham appeared for the appellant.

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Inquiries

Land at Rowney Lane, Ware

15/05/2018

Seven day s78/s174 appeal concerning one pitch for gypsy caravans on land in the rural area beyond the Green Belt but within the setting of a listed building.

A new local plan was adopted during the course of the inquiry.  It continued a policy accepting gypsy sites in the rural area beyond the Green Belt provided certain criteria were met.  The local planning authority resisted the appeal on the basis of distance from services alone, even though it had previously resisted development on the site for landscape reasons.  Local residents raised impact on the landscape and harm to the setting of the listed building, a medieval priory rebuilt as a gentleman’s residence in the nineteenth century.  The residents also contended that the surrounding countryside, including the appeal site, had been laid out as parkland when the priory was rebuilt, and as such was an undesignated heritage asset.  The Inspector found that there was harm to the landscape and the setting of the listed building but that the personal circumstances of the Appellant justified a personal permission.

Richard Langham appeared for the local residents, the Friends of Rowney Lane.

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Inquiries

Land at Alba Stables, Bridge Way, Cobham

05/12/2017

S174 inquiry concerning use of an extensive site for the laying of hardstanding, the erection of fences, earthworks, the stationing of caravans and the storage of vehicles and materials.

Appeals were made on ground b, c and d.  There was extensive debate about the power of the Inspector to amend the enforcement notice so as to show the alleged breaches accurately.  Ultimately the enforcement notice was withdrawn and the Appellant undertook to pursue a CLEUD application.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Gray’s Avenue, Langdon Mills, Basildon

24/10/2017

S174 appeal concerning one pitch for gypsy caravans in the Green Belt.

The site was in an area of scattered residential development in the Green Belt but could be seen in extensive views of open countryside.  It was accepted that there was a high level of unmet need in the Borough, but the local planning authority was intending to allocate land for a large number of gypsy pitches in an emerging local plan.   The Inspector allowed the appeal.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Hovefields Avenue, Wickford

04/09/2017

Four day s174 inquiry concerning six pitches for gypsy caravans in the Green Belt.

The site was established over a weekend and the local planning authority obtained an injunction to prevent the stationing of further caravans.  When more arrived one of the Appellants was imprisoned for contempt (Basildon BC v Anderson 12 April 2017).  The site was in an area of plotlands and a local plan policy countenanced some development in such areas, despite the Green Belt designation.  There were some lawful gypsy pitches in the vicinity but the local planning authority had taken direct action to remove unlawful pitches elsewhere in the locality.  It was accepted that there was a high level of unmet need in the Borough, but the authority was intending to allocate land for a large number of gypsy pitches in an emerging local plan.  The development eroded a gap between two areas of development.  The Inspector granted planning permission for one pitch but upheld the enforcement notice against the other five.  A s289 challenge by the Appellant failed.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land off Common Lane, Claygate

11/07/2017

S78 inquiry concerning occupation of land in the Green Belt by gypsy caravans.

This appeal concerned one pitch for gypsy caravans on land in the Green Belt, adjoining a local nature reserve and close to footpaths.  There was no enforcement notice because an injunction required the site to be cleared if the s78 appeal failed.  The inquiry was opened but the appellants were not present, one being in custody, charged with murder.  The appeals were determined on the basis of the written proofs.  The local planning authority raised harm to the Green Belt and to the character and appearance of the countryside.   There was no 5 year supply sites for gypsy pitches.  The appeal was dismissed.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Croydon Local Plan

25/05/2017

Examination of proposed allocation of land for c36 pitches for gypsy caravans on a highways depot at Purley Oaks, Croydon.

The proposed allocation generated a high level of local opposition, with objectors contending that the site was too large and in an inappropriate urban location and that the site selection process had been flawed.  The examiner nevertheless endorsed the allocation.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Pigstye Lane, Willingale, Essex

21/02/2017

Four day s174 inquiry concerning four pitches for gypsy caravans in the Green Belt.

The site was a paddock close to residential properties in the Green Belt.  The development involved significant harm to openness and was distant from services.  The local planning authority accepted that there was a high level of unmet need in its district.  Permanent planning permission was granted.

Richard Langham appeared for a neighbouring resident.

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Inquiries

Loughborough TROs

12/01/2016

Two day inquiry into TROs needed to achieve the permanent pedestrianisation of Loughborough.

Three experimental TROs provided for the complete pedestrianisation of the centre of Loughborough for an 18 month period. The pedestrianisation had the effect of preventing buses from travelling through the town centre.  The replacement routes and bus stops were less convenient for some visitors.  Two bus operators and many objectors wanted buses to be permitted to drive through the pedestrianised area in one direction only and at walking pace.  The case involved an assessment of the overall level of access by bus with full pedestrianisation and the likely disruption to bus services if the objectors’ proposals were implemented.  The Inspector recommended that the experimental orders should be made permanent.

Richard Langham appeared for the traffic authority.

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Inquiries

Land at St Michael’s, Tenbury Wells, Hereford

15/09/2015

Two day CLEUD inquiry concerning a log cabin which replaced a mobile home. The mobile home had been used to accommodate young foreign workers and latterly the appellant.

The appellant had stationed a mobile home in a field adjoining her farmhouse (which was in mixed C2/C3 use) in 2004. She claimed that she used the mobile home to provide accommodation for young foreign workers and that this was unconnected with the use of the farm house.  In 2012 the farm house was sold and the appellant moved into the mobile home herself.  She then applied for planning permission to replace the mobile home with a log cabin.  The local planning authority purported to determine that planning permission was not required.  In reliance on this purported determination the appellant replaced the mobile home with a log cabin.  The appellant argued that the log cabin was not a building, but that, even if it was, the purported determination meant that enforcement action on this basis would be an abuse of power. The appellant further contended that the replacement of the mobile home in these circumstances could not have the effect of destroying the use rights associated with the mobile home.

Richard Langham appeared for the appellant, on a public access basis.

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Inquiries

Land at Manor View, Southend Road, Thurrock

20/01/2015

Three day s174 inquiry concerning a gypsy caravan site of four pitches in the Green Belt.

This appeal concerned four pitches for gypsy caravans in the Green Belt. The local planning authority had recently completed a GTAA: the robustness of this was debated at length at the inquiry. There was nothing like a 5 year supply of deliverable sites. The decision had been recovered but was un-recovered following the decision in Moore. The Inspector allowed the appeal – shortly before the revision to the PPTS and the introduction of the new policy on intentional unauthorised development in the Green Belt.  The local planning authority is challenging the decision. 

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Home Farm, Church Lane, Exeter

09/09/2014

This s78 appeal concerned a substantial housing development on the outskirts of Exeter. The location was part of the landscape setting of the City and the site had been rejected for allocation.  The local planning authority contended that it had a 5 year supply of deliverable housing sites, relying on a large amount of student accommodation and the terms of the Planning Practice Guidance.  The developer contended that it was only appropriate to count these units if the housing target took account of the need for student accommodation – which in this case it did not.  The Inspector held that the local planning authority’s interpretation of the Planning Practice Guidance was incorrect and that there was no 5 year supply of deliverable sites.  She granted planning permission.  Her decision was unsuccessfully challenged (Exeter City Council v SSCLG [2015] EWHC 1663).

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Connaught Avenue, Frinton-on-Sea

15/07/2014

This was an inquiry into objections to a definitive map modification order to add a footpath to the definitive map. The claimed footpath ran between two buildings.  There was good evidence of use as of right over a 20 year period, but there was also good evidence that the landowner had locked a gate blocking the way every Christmas for most of this period.  However none of the users recalled trying to use the way at Christmas.  The Inspector concluded that, because the attempts by the landowner to signify that he had no intention to dedicate had not been brought home to the public, they had been ineffective.  The decision was unsuccessfully challenged (see Ali v SSEFRA [2015] EWHC 893 (Admin)).

Richard Langham appeared for the objector, on a public access basis.

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Inquiries

Land at Mordon Bridge, Swindon

12/03/2014

This was a proposal for substantial housing development on a site identified as being of nature conservation importance. The developer offered to fund nature conservation works on another site about 20km away.  There was extensive consideration of the DEFRA ‘metric’ intended to quantify the nature conservation benefits of off-site compensation works.  There was also consideration of the approach to assessing 5 year supply where part of the need of an adjoining authority (Swindon), as yet unquantified, had to be met in the authority’s area.  The Inspector granted planning permission.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Westerleigh Road, Pucklechurch, South Gloucestershire

17/09/2013

This was the redetermination of an appeal following the decision in AZ v SSCLG [2012] EWHC 3660 (Admin).  The local planning authority had served an enforcement notice against a caravan stationed in a field in the Green Belt.  The appellant had a severe psychiatric condition which meant that he needed ready access to open space.  However he could not afford to buy a house with a large garden.  There was evidence that he might commit suicide if forced to leave the present site.  On the other hand there was also evidence that his condition might be treatable and that treatment had not been attempted.  The appellant contended that there was no 5 year supply of deliverable housing sites because the calculations of the local planning authority wrongly addressed the existing backlog on an annualised basis over the life of the Core Strategy.  The local planning authority relied on comments of the Core Strategy Inspector in a very recent report which endorsed this approach.  The appeal was allowed.  The decision was challenged and found to be seriously flawed, albeit that it was not quashed (South Gloucestershire DC v SSCLG [2015] EWCA 74 (Civ)).

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land off Humberstone Avenue, Humberstone, Grimsby

03/09/2013

This s78 appeal concerned a proposal for 400 houses on a greenfield site on the edge of a settlement. The settlement boundary was accepted as being out-of-date and the site had been identified as acceptable in a SHLAA.  The local planning authority had not established its OAHN and certainly could not show a 5 year supply of deliverable sites.  The authority contended that it was undesirable to allow the release of greenfield sites while there remained many derelict brownfield sites in Grimsby that were suitable for housing.   The case also raised the acceptability of a payment for highway improvements based on a theoretical minor easing of the geometry of a roundabout, sufficient to accommodate the increase in traffic attributable to the development.  The theoretical widening would never be carried out and the payment was tantamount to an unofficial CIL.   The Inspector granted planning permission, relying on paragraph 49 of the NPPF.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

17 Greenwich Church Street

26/02/2012

In this case an enforcement notice alleged a change of use to a mixed A3/shisha smoking use. The principal issue under ground (a) was whether the development breached a policy against the loss of A1 premises.  The Inspector effectively held that whether this policy was applicable depended on the nature of the s57(4) use.  Because this was not an A1 use he held that policy had not been breached.  He quashed the enforcement notice.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Woodman Public House, 93 Little Heath, Charlton

22/11/2011

This appeal concerned an enforcement notice served against flats on the upper floors of a public house. The flats were unacceptably small, and the principal issue was the ground (d) appeal.  The upper floors had previously been used for residential purposes, but usually in association with the ground floor public house use.  The landlord sometimes allowed them to be used by lodgers, but there was nothing to suggest that the lodgers had separate occupation of any space (they shared rooms).  The Inspector therefore found that the entire building had previously been a single planning unit, whereas now each flat was a separate planning unit.  The appeal was dismissed.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land off Birch Lane, Ascot

11/05/2011

This was an appeal against an enforcement notice concerning the stationing of gypsy caravans on a countryside site which had previously been part of a protected woodland. The gypsies felled several hundred trees in order to create their pitches.  The Council relied on the loss of trees as a reason for taking enforcement action, arguing that better replanting would be possible if the residential use ceased.  The appellants argued that the TPO was invalid because of drafting errors.  The Inspector proceeded on the basis that the TPO was valid and dismissed the appeal.  The appellants were subsequently convicted in the Crown Court for offences under s210 TPCA.

The case also raised the correct approach to European Protected Species under paragraph 99 of C6/2005 (a pre-development survey is required if there is a reasonable likelihood that protected species are present on a site). There was a reasonable likelihood that such species had been present on the site and the absence of proper survey information was held to be a good reason for taking enforcement action.  Logically the requisite survey should have considered the situation before the development enforced against was carried out.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Lye Lane, Bricket Wood, St Albans

22/02/2011

This Green Belt site had an existing club house and planning permission for a modest pavilion to serve a playing field. The appellant embarked on an ambitious scheme for a gym and leisure centre, as revealed by plans submitted for Building Regulations approval, and protested when the local planning authority served a temporary stop notice followed by an enforcement notice.  He argued that, far from taking enforcement action, the authority should have negotiated about the conditions it would impose in a retrospective planning permission.  He claimed that this approach was mandated by PPG18.  Not surprisingly he lost.  The development was subsequently demolished.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Icen Farm, Icen Lane, Bincombe, Weymouth

12/07/2010

An enforcement notice required the demolition of a half-finished building in an AONB. This had the potential to be 3 dwellinghouses.  Planning permission had been granted for an agricultural worker’s dwelling but the Inspector agreed with the local planning authority that the development materially departed from this.  He also found that the planning permission had not been lawfully implemented.  In relation to the ground (a) appeal he found that the appellant had no agricultural need for anything and that there was no other justification for permitting this development in an AONB.  Costs were awarded against the appellant.

Richard Langham appeared for the local planning authority.

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Inquiries

Land at Great Ashby, Stevenage

06/07/2010

The CPO inquiry opened the day after the Coalition government announced the cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future programme. The education authority asked for the inquiry to be adjourned while it sought alternative funding.  It then abandoned the proposal.  The Secretary of State initially declined to order the education authority to pay the objectors’ costs.  The objectors challenged his decision by judicial review and he changed his mind.

Richard Langham appeared for the objectors.

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Inquiries

Land at Black Barn, Childwickbury, Herts

29/06/2010

This inquiry concerned use of land as a waste transfer station and for skip hire. The appellant argued that the site had previously been used for the importation and processing of waste.  There had been no skip hire business but the appellant argued that this did not matter, since the use made of the skips off-site could not affect the characterisation of the use of the site.  The Inspector dismissed the appeals, holding that, at the start of the 10 year period, the primary use was not for the importation and processing of waste.

Richard Langham appeared for the appellant.

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