Home > Cases > Chas Storer Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government & Anor [2009] EWHC 1071 (Admin)

The claimant occupied a site on which it operated a business collection and processing waste. The local planning authority issued an enforcement notice alleging that, without planning permission, there had been a material change of use of the land to a mixed use for the collection and baling of paper and use of part for the collection and bulking of green waste and use as a mixed waste transfer station (co-mingled waste). The requirements imposed by the enforcement notice were to cease and not resume lorry movements in excess of 92 per day on any weekday; any activities on the site outside of specified hours; any activities at the site on weekends and public holidays; and the use of the land for importation, deposit, sorting or baling of only certain materials. The claimant appealed against the enforcement notice to the first defendant Secretary of State, under s 174 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, arguing that there had not been a material change of use, for which planning permission was required. In the event, the Secretary of State’s inspector substantially dismissed the claimant’s appeal. He found that it was the receipt and bulking of co-mingled waste which constituted or gave rise to the material change of use, recording that notwithstanding what had been a fairly large increase in throughput and vehicle movements, it was the change in the nature of the material which was telling. The claimant appealed against the inspector’s decision under s 289 of the Act.

Held: Appeal allowed. The inspector’s findings and conclusion on the nature of the material change of use had been clearly stated in the inspector’s decision letter. The decision letter recorded that it had been the addition of the co-mingled waste that had constituted or given rise to the material change of use. The material change of use found had been no wider than that. Nowhere in the decision letter had the inspector stated that the material change of use included the increased vehicle movements and hours of operation. Accordingly, those factors did not constitute or form part of the material change of use. Therefore such activities at those increased levels remained lawful use. In all the circumstances, the inspector had not been entitled to impose requirements which went beyond what was necessary to confine relevant activities to lawful use. The inspector had therefore erred in law by imposing requirements restricting vehicle movements and hours of operation at the site (see [48] and [49] of the judgment).

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