Williams v Minister of Housing and Local Government: QBD 1967

The appellant land-owner had bought it with an established business selling by retail from it vegetables and fruits and flowers grown on the land. He made minor alterations to the shop and began to sell also a number of oranges bananas and lemons which he had imported. This amounted to some 10% of his total sales. An enforcement notice was served as to these new sales, the authority saying that this was a change of use requiring permission, and a discontinuance of the retail shop. On reference, the Minister took the view that the mode of use of the building before the purchase was merely incidental to its use as a nursery, but that the change by addition of the sale of imported produce changed the character of the use amounting to a material change within section 12(1). Permission had been required and had been properly refused. The land owner appealed.
Held: When asking whether a material change had occurred, the proper unit for consideration was the land and building as a whole. However, a change in the character of an ancillary use might amount to a material change in the use of the land as a whole.
The Minister had decided that the original and primary use was for agriculture with only an incidental use for the sale of produce from the land. That decision was correct, and he was entitled to conclude from it that the addition of sales of imported produce amounted to a change in the character of use. The change could not be disregarded as de minimis.
The court gave the opinion that had the building been considered in isolation, it would have had a retail shop use and it would have been arguable that a new permission would not have been required.


(1967) 18 PCR 514, (1967) 111 Sol Jo 559, (1967) LGR 495, (1967) 203 EG 688


Town and Country Planning Act 1962 12(1) Part III


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedMillington v Secretary of State for Environment Transport and Regions v Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council CA 25-Jun-1999
The fact that a new product was made on agricultural land from produce grown elsewhere on the land did not make that production process non-agricultural. The making of wine is capable of being agricultural use, and being thus free from planning . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Planning, Agriculture

Updated: 03 July 2022; Ref: scu.229042