Newsmith Stainless Ltd, Regina (On the Application of) v Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions: Admn 1 Feb 2001

Application was made to quash an inspector’s decision.
Held: An inspector’s decision was not to be challenged as to its facts. In any case where the expert tribunal is the fact finding body the threshold of Wednesbury unreasonableness or irrationality is a difficult obstacle for an Applicant to surmount. The difficulty is greatly increased in most planning cases because the inspector is not simply deciding questions of fact but is reaching a series of planning judgments. The courts should be astute to ensure that perversity challenges are not be used ‘as a cloak for what is, in truth, a rerun of arguments on the planning merits’.
Sulivan J explained that: ‘An application under section 288 is not an opportunity for a review of the planning merits of an Inspector’s decision. An allegation that an Inspector’s conclusion on the planning merits is Wednesbury perverse is, in principle, within the scope of a challenge under section 288, but the court must be astute to ensure that such challenges are not used as a cloak for what is, in truth, a rerun of the arguments on the planning merits.
In any case, where an expert tribunal is the fact finding body the threshold of Wednesbury unreasonableness is a difficult obstacle for an applicant to surmount. That difficulty is greatly increased in most planning cases because the Inspector is not simply deciding questions of fact, he or she is reaching a series of planning judgments. For example: is a building in keeping with its surroundings? Could its impact on the landscape be sufficiently ameliorated by landscaping? Is the site sufficiently accessible by public transport? et cetera. Since a significant element of judgment is involved there will usually be scope for a fairly broad range of possible views, none of which can be categorised as unreasonable.
Moreover, the Inspector’s conclusions will invariably be based not merely upon the evidence heard at an inquiry or an informal hearing, or contained in written representations but, and this will often be of crucial importance, upon the impressions received on the site inspection. Against this background an applicant alleging an Inspector has reached a Wednesbury unreasonable conclusion on matters of planning judgment, faces a particularly daunting task . .’
Sullivan J
[2001] EWHC 74 (Admin)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedGlover v Secretary of State for the Environment 1980
. .
CitedSouth Oxfordshire District Council v Secretary of State for the Environment Transport and the Regions and another QBD 13-Jan-2000
Extensive grounds of a house had permissions subject to a condition that they should not be used for landing etc of helicopters. For several years the owner flew helicopters from the property relying upon provisions allowing temporary use. His . .
CitedCity of Edinburgh Council v Secretary of State for Scotland and Another; Same v Same (Conjoined Appeals) HL 31-Oct-1997
The Listed buildings registers are to be read consistently; the trading level is a material consideration in listed buildings consent applications. The weight to be given to a material consideration once identified was a matter of judgment for the . .

Cited by:
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The applicant challenged refusal of permission for his proposed one bedroom ‘earthship dwelling’. He ran an ostrich farm on the land, and wished to occupy it instead of the caravan presently occupies with temporary permission.
Held: The appeal . .
CitedRencher-Paine v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Another Admn 2-Mar-2011
The applicant challenged refusal of permission for his proposed one bedroom ‘earthship dwelling’. He ran an ostrich farm on the land, and wished to occupy it instead of the caravan presently occupies with temporary permission.
Held: The appeal . .
CitedCherkley Campaign Ltd, Regina (on The Application of) v Longshot Cherkley Court Ltd Admn 22-Aug-2013
The campaign company sought judicial review of a decision by the respondent granting permission to develop nearby land as a golf course.
Held: The application succeeded. The Secretary of State in preserving the effect of certain policies had . .
CitedPolice and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire, Regina (on The Application of) v Hallam Land Management Ltd and Others Admn 27-May-2014
The claimant challenged a planning permission for a substantial development, and in particular the terms of the associated section 106 agreement. The claimant was concerened that the terms might allow a sufficient development to required additional . .
CitedEast Northamptonshire District Council and Others v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Another Admn 8-Mar-2013
The Council sought an order to quash the inspector’s decision to grant permission for a wind farm. . .
CitedRegina (Novalong Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Communities and Local Government Admn 2008
Sullivan J rejected an argument that the Secretary of State should have deferred to an Inspector’s judgment as to the merits of a planning application, the Inspector having had a personal viewing of the site. He said: ‘Mr Katkowski referred to the . .
CitedWind Prospect Developments Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Another Admn 5-Dec-2014
The claimant appealed against refusal of permission to erect a six turbine wind farm. The inspector had recommended the plan, but the defendant had decided against it.
Held: The claim failed. The planning inspector’s report is the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 24 February 2021; Ref: scu.347075