Court of Appeal overturns High Court decision found to have misinterpreted the law

[2023] EWCA Civ 904
01 Aug 2023

Planning and Environment, Property

The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal concerning the subdivision of a dwelling in a residential street in a London suburb, overturning a previous High Court decision.

In Kazalbash v Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the underlying decision concerned an Inspector’s refusal to grant planning permission for the change of use of an extant extension due to the unacceptable impact on the character and appearance of the area.

The deputy judge quashed the Inspector’s decision on the basis of having taken into account immaterial considerations and irrationality, saying it was “difficult to understand why the unchanging appearance of the extension would appear incongruous ‘as a separate dwelling’ when there is no change proposed to the extension, other than the internal change in the rear subdivision of the garden…”

The Court of Appeal disagreed, finding that the Deputy High Court Judge had erred in law. On a “straightforward” reading of the Inspector’s decision, having regard to the relevant development plan policies, it was “legally impeccable” and could “not be faulted in law”. The Court of Appeal’s judgment was a unanimous decision of Lindblom SPT, Lewis LJ and Nugee LJ.

Read the judgment here.

Nina Pindham appeared for the successful Appellant, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.