Our recent fundraising has been a phenomenal success. Over the course of 9 weeks you have helped to raise £19,000, which means our case, brought by Peter Steer as claimant, WILL be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice on 24th and 25th May 2017. It is increasingly rare that a planning application reaches the High Court, so we should all be very proud of getting our concerns to protect the setting of Kedleston Hall to this point.
Although things have seemed quiet, our KV specialists, Solicitor and Barrister have been working hard to prepare our case for the hearing.
What has been happening behind the scenes?
You may remember that Historic England, the Statutory Body who determines the policy and guidance used for planning matters that affect our Nation’s unique and wonderful heritage, were made an Interested Party in the case. Historic England has been preparing their submissions for the hearing and these happily will support our position. Historic England’s involvement has raised the profile of our case to a national level and helped us secure a Protective Costs Order (“PCO”), – on the basis of the public importance of the case. A PCO limits the claimant’s liability for the other side’s costs to £5000. A PCO is extremely rare in this sort of planning case – further evidence of the importance of our case!
Since KV’s last communication our legal team has devoted much time to preparing our Trial Bundle and Skeleton Argument. These are detailed and complex documents that concisely set out our case and they will form the basis of the arguments and submissions our Barrister will make before a planning judge at the two-day hearing.
What will happen on the day?
On 24th and 25th May, all parties will appear in court before a High Court Planning Judge to present each side of the case. The arguments made and supporting evidence will be scrutinised by the Judge, who is independent. The hearing has been allocated from 10:00 am to 4pm each day, however the judge may adjust timings depending on the progress of the case.
The Judge’s role in this sort of hearing is to decide if there has been an error of law made by the Inspector in the decision to grant planning consent. The Judge does not have powers to independently assess the merits of the planning decision and does not exercise planning judgment. Further information on the Statutory Review process, as Judicial Review is known in planning matters, can be found for those who are interested on our Solicitor’s web site at: http://www.richardbuxton.co.uk/the-law/judicial-review-process.
Should I attend the hearing?
We urge all KV supporters to attend at least one of the two days if possible. The more members of the public that attend the hearing the stronger the sense of community support for Kedleston will be evident to the Judge. You can come for the morning 10:00-1pm or afternoon sessions 2:00 – 4:30 pm in case you cannot spare a full day. If you plan to attend let us know so appropriate provisions can be made on the day. The address for the Royal Courts of Justice: Strand, London, WC2A 2LL. We can circulate the court room on the day before the hearing.
What are the possible outcomes?
1) The High Court Judge may rule in our favour and decide to quash the planning inspector’s decision. This would return the planning decision to the status it had before the public inquiry last July, i.e. ‘permission refused’. As the losing party the developer can appeal the High Court judgment to the Court of Appeal. It is not clear at this point if an appeal to the Court of Appeal would proceed, as permission is required from the Court of Appeal.
a. If the Inspector’s decision is quashed and no appeal is pursued or the Court of Appeal refuses permission for an appeal the developer can withdraw the application from the Planning Inspectorate for England and Wales (“PINS”) so the refusal stands or ask PINS to determine the Appeal in which case PINS will appoint a new planning inspector who would conduct a new inquiry and make the final decision. It is also possible to write to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (“SOS”), to seek to have the application called in. In that case PINS will appoint a new planning inspector, who will conduct an inquiry and ‘recommend’ a decision. The SOS would then take the final decision.
b. In either case the inspector and SOS would make their decisions based on proper consideration of the law on the setting of heritage assets as set out in the Court’s judgment and all relevant factors in the case, such as the Historic England objections, etc.
2) The Judge may find in favour of the Defendants and uphold the inspector’s decision. This would mean that the inspector’s decision granting planning permission would stand. Depending on the basis of the decision it is possible for the Claimant to appeal to the Court of Appeal, but as above, permission is required for the Claimant to appeal.
Whatever the outcome, together we will have ensured that this case, all the relevant issues and legal tests have been properly scrutinised at the highest level by an independent Judge.
When will we know the outcome?
Sometimes judgment can be given there and then, however the likelihood is that in our case it will be provided orally shortly after or ‘handed-down’ in writing sometime soon after that.
What happens after the judgment?
The parties will likely make submissions on payment of costs, and may ask for permission to appeal the decision.
What can I do next?
If you haven’t donated already, please do so now, as we need the final £1,000 to ensure all costs are covered. You can donate by clicking here
Once again, thank you for your support. We will be back in touch before the hearing.