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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10949
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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Is it worth challenging a Planning Inspectorate enforcement

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Is it worth challenging a Planning Inspectorate enforcement notice appeal decision for alteration of a garden wall in a conservation area albeit there are errors in the reasons for making this decision. Would I be wasting my time and money as the architectural/historical value of the wall has been decided by the local planning authority and now been endorsed by the Planning Inspectorate. Once their views have been established I cannot see that the High Court will find against them.
The appeal decision did acknowledge that my appeal succeeded on one of the grounds and there were errors which they corrected/varied the enforcement notice to accommodate.
1. At the outset, you need to realise that it is notoriously hard to succeed in the High Court in a judicial review of a planning decision. The key issue is that the Court does not re-make the decision as to what is correct, but merely reviews the decision to see if it was taken properly and in accordance with proper procedures. So for the lay person, there needs to be an appreciation that there is no such thing as an actual review of the decision. It is only looked at to see if the decision was taken in accordance with correct procedures and in the correct manner. Accordingly, as there has already been two decisions taken on the issue, it is highly unlikely that a judicial review will change matters. So, unless it is something about which you feel very strongly and about which you don't mind losing around £100,000 for at least a two to three day hearing, you are best advised to keep your money in your pocket. My own view is that a wall is not sufficient grounds for the expenditure of such money.2. The second point is that on first glance, the fact the PLanning INspectorate acknowledged that there was some error in the initial decision means that some lawyer has already assessed the decision in accordance with the legal principles applicable. So this makes the possibility of a successful judicial review even less.#3. HOwever, if you wish to go ahead, I would first get a preliminary opinion on the merits from a barrister in Chambers in London before you embark on expensive judicial review proceedings.
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