R (Marden PC) v Herefordshire Council, CO/870/2018, 8.10.2018

Soole J today issued his judgment in this case, which relates to a challenge by a parish council in respect of the grant of planning permission (“PP”) for expansion of a Gypsy site. MPC raised 4 grounds. Three are case-specific, but ground 3 may be of wider interest relating to the standard of plans submitted with applications for PP.

Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) Order 2015 art 7 requires applications for PP to be accompanied by “(i) a plan which identifies the land to which the application relates; (ii) any other plans, drawings and information necessary to describe the development which is the subject of the application”. These plans must be “must be drawn to an identified scale”. Town and Country Planning Act 1990 s327A provides that a local planning authority “must not entertain [an application for PP] if it fails to comply with the requirement.” The application in this case was supported by a clearly amateur plan that included the words “scale 1:500”. Soole J rejected the submission that it was insufficient, stating “The scale of 1:500 is marked on the plan and there is no evidence to show that it is not drawn to that scale. I do not accept that it matters that the plan is not a professionally drawn document; and accept that it is commonplace for plans in respect of small family gypsy sites to be in such a format”.

This will be of importance, not only in respect of Gypsy sites, but also in respect of modest developments that need planning permission and are often accompanied by amateurish plans.  The plans should bear the scale and show north, but so long as they are sufficient for the purpose of determining the application, they can be amateurish.

Tim Jones appeared for Herefordshire Council and Hashi Mohamed appeared for Marden PC.

Both are members of the Planning Group at No5.