Fairmount Investments Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment: HL 1976

A local authority had made a compulsory purchase order which was challenged and an inquiry was held. The inspector, after the conclusion of the hearing, conducted his own inspection of the premises as a result of which he concluded that the foundations were defective. His decision letter revealed the fact that this was a ground upon which he came to the conclusion that the compulsory purchase order should stand.
Held: Viscount Dilhorne said: ‘It was on account of his belief as to the inadequacy of the foundations that the inspector, taking that into account with the other defects, ruled out rehabilitation. So it appears that the inspector attached great weight to a factor which formed no part of the council’s case, of which the respondents had not been given notice and with which they had been given no opportunity of dealing. In my opinion there is great substance in the respondents’ complaints. Just as it would have been contrary to natural justice if the Secretary of State in making his decision had taken into account evidence received by him after an inquiry without an objector having an opportunity to deal with it, so here in my view it was contrary to natural justice for his decision to confirm the order to be based to a very considerable extent on an opinion, which investigation might have shown to be erroneous, that the foundations were not taken down deep enough, and an opinion, which also might have been shown to be erroneous, that the inadequacy of the foundations showed that rehabilitation was impractical.’

Viscount Dilhorne
[1976] 2 EGLR 18, [1976] 1 WLR 1255, [1976] 2 All ER 865
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedEdward Ware New Homes Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions Admn 19-Dec-2001
The applicant sought planning permission to pull down some buildings formerly used as a mushroom farm. The application was refused on the ground that it would remain available for industrial use. The applicant contended it would be low grade use. . .
CitedJory v Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and another Admn 12-Nov-2002
The claimant took part in a planning appeal, objecting to a development. After the appeal, the inspector agreed different conditions, but without allowing the claimant to be involved. He appealed.
Held: The inspector was obliged to deal . .
CitedTodd, Bradley v The Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs Admn 22-Jun-2004
Application was made to quash an order modifying the Council’s definitive map of public rights of way.
Held: Before the Secretary of State could confirm a Council’s modification of a right of way shown on the definitive map, where that . .
CitedWalton v The Scottish Ministers SC 17-Oct-2012
The appellant, former chair of a road activist group, challenged certain roads orders saying that the respondent had not carried out the required environmental assessment. His claim was that the road had been adopted without the consultation . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Natural Justice

Leading Case

Updated: 05 December 2021; Ref: scu.183164