Alex Hughes : My name is***** and I'm happy to help with your question today.
Alex Hughes : When was planning permission granted please?
Alex Hughes : You cannot get an injunction preventing someone from making a claim for judicial review - but as an interested party you can make representations against the objections raised by your neighbour. The claim will be against the planning authority (claims can only be made against public bodies) but before doing so certain steps have to be taken: a letter of claim has to be sent to the authority and permission for judicial review has to be sought from a High Court Judge. The whole process is complex, legal aid is generally not available and could be costly for your neighbour(s).
Customer: Planning was granted in 2013, however, the work stopped in April 2014 as the builders brought the first floor bedroom extension out by 10 inches this was unintentional as they were relying on our old plans which we did not submit. The neighbours alerted the council and the enforcement officer wrote to me stating that work should be halted until further notice. We then received a letter on 1st September 2014 that the council will not be taking any further action as it's not seen as a serious breach and they informed us that we could continue with the build and they closed their case. My neighbours weren't too happy about this. So we were granted retrospective planning for that 10 inches for the first floor bedroom.
Alex Hughes : There is nothing unlawful/unreasonable/irrational about the decision made by the council as far as I can see. The change in the design from the original plans is minimal and unlikely to be interfered with by the High Court.
Customer: My neighbours have also gone to the local papers, they have provided all false information. Stating that we started building before planning was granted. The article below:
Customer: I am
Alex Hughes : If the article contains false information then you could take action against the paper for libel. Alternatively you can ask the paper to publish a new article updating the position and confirming that permission was granted retrospectively. However, if the article is an accurate reflection of the matter then no libel will have been committed.
Customer: i am also seeking damages for defamation as they have wrongly used my fathers name who has nothing to do with the property. He is totally oblivious to all this. Would I be successful in a defamation case?
Alex Hughes : It depends - if it was a genuine mistake and the paper corrects the article and offers an apology then a defamation claim is not worth the time or money. The paper should be contacted to correct the article in the first instance.
Customer: Ok will do that. Can I make my case against my neighbours as they were the ones that provided the wrong information?
Alex Hughes : If false information originated from your neighbours and you can prove this, then you could have a claim against them also. It would be more difficult to prove, of course. With the newspaper on the other hand the evidence is in the published article.