Downderry Construction Ltd v Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and Another: Admn 11 Jan 2002

The applicant had an existing planning permission. They sought and received confirmation from the local authority that the permission remained in effect. They then sought a certificate of lawful use. The letter confirming the permission had been issued in error, but the claimant asserted that the council were estopped from refusing the certificate. The inspector said the developer knew enough not to have relied upon the letter.
Held: A public authority may be subject to an estoppel even in exercising its statutory duties in exceptional circumstances. Here the representation made by the council was clear and unambiguous, and the applicant believed it and relied upon it to his detriment. It was not justified to say he should have known the falsity of the representation. There is no requirement as to the reasonableness of the claimant relying upon the representation. The inspector erred in law and his decision was quashed.
Richards J
[2002] EWHC 2 (Admin)
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 191 192
England and Wales
CitedWestern Fish Products Ltd v Penwith District Council and Another CA 22-May-1978
Estoppel Cannot Oust Statutory Discretion
The plaintiff had been refused planning permission for a factory. The refusals were followed by the issue of Enforcement Notices and Stop Notices. The plaintiff said that they had been given re-assurances upon which they had relied.
Held: The . .

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Updated: 04 June 2021; Ref: scu.168018