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High Court considers controversial application for planning permission for the expansion of Lydden Hill Racing Circuit

15.02.2022

The High Court will today consider the interaction of the planning and nuisance regimes when determining what the lawful "fallback" position would be if a planning permission were not granted. When considering a controversial application for planning permission for the expansion of Lydden Hill Racing Circuit, which sits in the Kent Downs AONB, Dover District Council took into account, in favour of granting permission, that the lawful "fallback" position under a 2014 planning permission was that the track produced noise that officers accepted amounted to a "Significant Observable Adverse Effect" or "SOAEL". This level of noise causes significant adverse effects on the health and quality of life of residents living in the vicinity of the track, including in the nearby Wootton Village. There was a noise abatement notice (NAN) in place, but this only restricted the noise and officers agreed did not prevent noise at the level of a SOAEL.

The Claimant's case is that the lawful fallback position was the 2014 planning permission, subject to control via the nuisance regime, which was not limited only to the existing NAN, but also included the Council power to serve a further NAN which restricted or abated the noise to a level below SOAEL. The Claimant also challenges the Council's approach to AONB policy; its reasons for granting planning permission and contends that the Council acted in breach of Article 8 ECHR. Estelle Dehon represents the Claimant, instructed by Richard Buxton Solicitors.