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Planning permission for “community purposes” includes wraparound childcare facilities

A condition in a planning permission that a park pavilion "shall only be used for community purposes ... and for no other purpose (including any other purpose within Classes D1 and D2 [of the schedule to the 1987 Use Classes Order]) ..." was not breached by the use of the pavilion hall for "wraparound" childcare facilities for pupils of an adjoining primary school and as a holiday club for those and other local children.

David Elvin QC, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge of the Planning Court, so held in dismissing a claim for judicial review brought by Ernesto Pinto against the London Borough of Merton as both landowner and local planning authority.

Applying Trump International Golf Club Scotland Ltd v Scottish Ministers [2016] 1 WLR 85, the Deputy Judge held that the words "community purposes" should be given their natural and ordinary meaning as including a service benefitting the local community. Here, despite its educational content, the clubs were connected to the community. The Deputy Judge accepted the Council's evidence that they "facilitate a community spirit amongst local families and assist working parents enabling them to remain in the area."

As for the Use Classes order, as a matter of interpretation of the permission, this only excluded purposes that were not of a community nature.

The London Borough of Merton has faced a number of legal challenges to its decision to expand the primary school and improve the park facilities all of which have been unsuccessful.

You can read the judgment here

Kelvin Rutledge QC represented the London Borough of Merton.