The local planning authority refused the claimant planning permission for a temporary caravan site for construction workers on the fifth terminal at Heathrow airport. The site was in the metropolitan green belt. The claimant appealed to the Secretary of State. The claimant maintained that there was a significant need for worker accommodation, which could not be met without making use of sites in the green belt. The LPA resisted the appeal on the basis of the substantial planning harm that would be caused by such inappropriate development in the green belt and concerns over plumbing and pollution control. The inspector dismissed the appeal, and the claimant applied to quash the inspector’s decision under s 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
An issue arose whether the inspector’s decision was irrational having regard to the test for permitting inappropriate development in the green belt in PPG2, namely that very special circumstances should exist to justify it.
The application was dismissed. The court held that in all the circumstances, the inspector had dealt with the matter properly. Although the claimant had a strong case on need, the authority had put a very powerful case for refusal of permission, and the inspector had formed the opinion that the need was not sufficiently compelling to outweigh the harm to the green belt.