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Council lawfully refused to consider post-enforcement notice planning application

The High Court has refused permission for a developer to bring judicial review proceedings against South Cambridgeshire District Council's decision to refuse to consider a planning application. The application sought planning permission for part of an office building subject to a pre-existing enforcement notice.

This is one of the few cases to have considered the scope of s.70C Town and Country Planning Act 1990, which was inserted by the Localism Act 2011. Dove J applied Wingrove v Stratford-upon-Avon District Council [2015] EWHC 287 (Admin.) and held that s.70C afforded local authorities a "broad discretion" to refuse to entertain planning applications which seek permission for the whole or any part of an existing enforcement notice.

The case did not address the conundrum as to whether an enforcement notice subject to an appeal falls within the definition of a "pre-existing enforcement notice" for the purposes of s.70C(1) of the 1990 Act. It being the case that by operation s.175(4) of the 1990 Act an enforcement notice subject to appeal shall "be of no effect" pending the outcome of the appeal. Whether a local authority can refuse to entertain a planning application because it covers the whole or part of an enforcement notice, which is subject to appeal, shall have to await resolution on another day.

Ashley Bowes of Cornerstone Barristers acted for the successful Defendant, South Cambridgeshire District Council, which was awarded its full costs of resisting the challenge.

Click here to read the judgement in full.