The stationing of the Bibby Stockholm Barge is not subject to planning control

23 May 2024

Public Law and Judicial Review

Judgment is now out as regards the challenge by Ms Carralyn Parkes to Dorset Council’s decision (as the relevant local planning authority) that the stationing of the Bibby Stockholm barge is not subject to planning control.

Mr Justice Holgate’s judgment unequivocally supports Dorset Council’s position and, as a result, Ms Parkes’ claim for judicial review has been dismissed.  A summary of the judgment can be found here.

Ms Parkes relied upon five grounds of challenge, all of which failed (grounds 2 – 5 being held to be unarguable):

  1. The boundaries of Dorset Council encompass Portland Harbour.
  2. By virtue of being moored indefinitely in Portland Harbour, the Bibby Stockholm has become an “accretion from the sea” within the meaning of s.72 of the Local Government Act 1972, and therefore falls within planning control.
  3. Even if the geographical extent of the administrative area of Dorset Council does not extend further into the harbour than the finger pier, applying a purposive interpretation of the legislation, Dorset Council’s enforcement powers apply to the Bibby Stockholm;
  4. Dorset Council has erred by failing to consider taking enforcement action in respect of any breach of planning control through a material change in the use of the quay, the finger pier and access road.
  5. If on an ordinary interpretation of the legislation, Dorset Council would not have power to take enforcement action in relation to the area in which the Bibby Stockholm is moored, it nevertheless does have such a power by interpreting the legislation in accordance with the Marleasing principle, to give effect to the requirement of the Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) Directive (Directive 2011/92/EU) that there be an assessment of the likely significant effects of relevant projects on the environment (see Marleasing SA v La Comercial Internacional de Alimentacion SA (Case C-106/89); [1992] 1 CMLR 305).

Nina Pindham appeared on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, led by Guy Williams KC.

This judgment follows a refusal of Mr Justice Holgate to grant the same claimant permission to judicially review the decision of the Home Secretary to station the Bibby Stockholm barge in Portland Harbour without first obtaining planning permission. Nina Pindham also appeared on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department in that matter. In both cases she is led by Guy Williams KC.

Nina Pindham has a wide-ranging planning practice. Learn more about her work here.