Wind 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 starting-point for the Secretary of State’s deliberations. However, it is his statutory function to make a planning judgment and whilst he should give due consideration to the inspector’s planning judgment, because of the latter’s knowledge of the particular case and his planning expertise, he is not required to follow it.
The decision letter that the Secretary of State disagreed with the Inspector’s assessment that the harm caused to the setting of heritage assets, particularly Burton Agnes Hall, was ‘limited’, as the Inspector found. The Secretary of State considered that the harm would be greater than limited, on the Inspector’s own findings, as summarised above. In particular, because the turbines would be visible from the Hall and its gardens, as a ‘distracting, modern, discordant presence’, and was entitled, in the exercise of his planning judgment, to differ from the Inspector in the assessment of the harm to the setting of the heritage assets which would be caused by the proposed wind farm.

Lang DBE J
[2014] EWHC 4041 (Admin)
England and Wales
CitedSeddon Properties Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment 1978
The court considered the degree of detail to be provided in a decision notice: ‘Since the courts will only interfere if he acts beyond his powers (which is the foundation of all the above principles), it is clear that his powers include the . .
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 . .
CitedTesco Stores Ltd v Dundee City Council SC 21-Mar-2012
The company challenged the grant of planning permission for a competitor to open a new supermarket within 800 metres of its own, saying that the Council had failed to apply its own planning policies, which required preference of suitable sites not . .
CitedLord Luke of Pavenham v Minister of Housing and Local Government CA 1968
The court considered a planning appeal where the Minister had departed from the the inspector’s decision. The plaintiff challenged the decision on the basis that the Minister had differed from the Inspector’s findings on ‘matters of fact’ under . .
CitedColeen Properties Ltd v Minister of Housing and Local Government CA 26-Jan-1971
The Minister confirmed a compulsory purchase order despite it having been made without any supporting evidence.
Held: The order was set aside. The Minister had erred in not following his Inspector’s conclusion that a compulsory purchase order . .
CitedNewsmith 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 . .
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 . .
CitedBarnwell Manor Wind Energy Ltd v East Northamptonshire District Council and Others CA 18-Feb-2014
Section 66(1) of the 1990 Act requires a decision-maker to give ‘the desirability of preserving the building or its setting’ not merely careful consideration but considerable importance and weight when balancing the advantages of the proposed . .
CitedEckersley v Binnie CA 1988
The court considered the duties of a judge considering conflicting expert evidence: ‘In resolving conflicts of expert evidence, the judge remains the judge; he is not obliged to accept evidence simply because it comes from an illustrious source; he . .
CitedSave Britain’s Heritage v Number 1 Poultry Ltd HL 28-Feb-1991
An order allowing demolition of a listed building was possible even though the building itself remained viable. The function of the courts was to validate the decision making process, not the merits of the decision.
Lord Bridge analysed the . .
CitedFlannery and Another v Halifax Estate Agencies Ltd, Trading As Colleys Professional Services CA 18-Feb-1999
A judge at first instance taking a view on an expert’s report should give reasons in his judgment for that view. On appeal, where no reasons had been given, he should be asked to provide reasons by affidavit for the appeal. An inadequately reasoned . .
CitedSouth Buckinghamshire District Council and Another v Porter (No 2) HL 1-Jul-2004
Mrs Porter was a Romany gipsy who bought land in the Green Belt in 1985 and lived there with her husband in breach of planning control. The inspector gave her personal permission to continue use, and it had been appealed and cross appealed on the . .
CitedDunster Properties Ltd v The First Secretary of State and Another CA 28-Feb-2007
An Inspector ought to give reasons for departing from the decision of a previous Inspector . .
CitedTegni Cymru Cyf v The Welsh Ministers and Another CA 24-Nov-2010
. .
CitedGeorgiou v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Another CA 7-Jul-2011
. .
CitedWelsh Ministers and Another v RWE Npower Renewables Ltd CA 15-Mar-2012
Appeal by the Welsh ministers against the quashing of their decision refusing the respondent’s application for planning permission for a wind farm. . .

Cited by:
CitedBroadview Energy Developments Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Others Admn 19-Jun-2015
The claimant company challenged the involvement of a constituency MP in a campaign opposing the grant of a planning permissions (in this case for a wind farm). In particular the claimant complained of the failures by the respondent to disclose . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 31 October 2021; Ref: scu.539742