Posted by: John Brace | 9th May 2019

Court of Appeal Judges condemn Wirral Council’s decision making over marquees in greenbelt saga

Court of Appeal Judges condemn Wirral Council’s decision making over marquees in greenbelt saga

                                      

David Ball (left) explains about the judicial review to the Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 18th January 2018

David Ball (left) explains about the judicial review to the Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 18th January 2018

For earlier coverage on this long running story you can read (in reverse chronological order):

Wirral Council planning application dispute involving 3 marquees in greenbelt listed for Court of Appeal hearing in March 2019 (2.1.19)

High Court Judge quashes greenbelt planning application for 3 marquees issued in “error” by Wirral Council in 2011 (29.3.18)

Why did Wirral Council’s planning department send out a decision letter about 3 marquees at Thornton Manor with no planning conditions? (13.7.17)

The 20 page judgement can be read here which was a request for permission to appeal from Mr Justice Kerr’s decision quashing the planning permission for the marquees issued by Wirral Council in case [2018] EWHC 560 (Admin).

Unusually video of the hearing held on the 5th March 2019 filmed by the Court of Appeal can be viewed following the links below.

Morning hearing 5th March 2019 ([2019] EWCA Civ 737)

Afternoon hearing 5th March 2019 ([2019] EWCA Civ 737)

The two issues decided in the permission to appeal decision by the Court of Appeal were whether the decision to extend the time for the claim was correct and whether because of that delay the planning permission shouldn’t have been quashed.

In summary, Wirral Council’s Planning Committee granted temporary planning permission on 7th September 2010 (in a 7:5 decision) for 5 years for 3 marquees within the Thornton Manor Estate to be used for private functions and conferences. There were 11 conditions to this planning permission (one was that it was only for 5 years).

On 23rd September 2010 the Secretary of State decided not to call in this planning permission, on the 11th November 2011 a section 106 agreement was reached and on the 20th December 2011 a formal decision about the planning application was sent out. This decision left out the conditions.

Once Wirral Council’s blunder was discovered as described in the Court of Appeal decision this happened:

“It appears that between the grant of planning permission on 20 December 2011 and 17 May 2012 no fewer than three versions of the decision notice were on the council’s website – the planning permission itself and the draft decision notices produced in May and September 2011. On 17 May 2012, however, these three documents were all taken down from the website and replaced by a single document in the form of a decision notice backdated to 11 November 2011, which purported to be the planning permission and contained the 10 conditions, including the one limiting the permission to five years. This document was signed by Mr Adderley, as Director of the council’s Department of Regeneration, Housing and Planning – a post to which he had only been appointed in March 2012. It was not sent to Thornton Hall Hotel. We were told that it remains on the council’s website even now.”

Then in 2017, solicitors acting for Thornton Hall Hotel urged Wirral Council to take planning enforcement action about the marquees (which were still up). This eventually led to the claim for judicial review in late 2017, but was also mentioned at the Planning Committee meeting on the 20th July 2017 (which you can watch in two clips below). Readers may remember that meeting as it also decided on another controversial planning application in the greenbelt – the fire station at Saughall Massie!

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Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 20th July 2017 Part 16 of 17 Thornton Manor report

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Planning Committee (Wirral Council) 20th July 2017 Part 16 of 17 Thornton Manor report

There is further judicial criticism in the latest decision about Wirral Council as follows, “We accept, as all three parties submit, that the council acted unlawfully in concealing its error. It initially attempted to put matters right by generating a fictitious decision notice and manipulating the planning register.”

Indeed the Court of Appeal decision is littered with criticism of Wirral Council’s actions and inactions.

In conclusion permission to appeal was denied and the earlier decision of Mr Justice Kerr quashing the planning permission stands.

It remains to be seen whether the matter ends there or not!

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Responses

  1. And once again more tax payers money wasted.
    And once again the sheep of wirral come out to vote for this morons

  2. Look. Another David Ball’s up.

    • Was he in charge of planning at Wirral Council before Kevin Adderley was?

  3. The ‘A’ surname is in there, why am I not surprised at this corpse finally being dug up!

  4. And this guy is in charge of producing our Local Plan! along with George Davies who has a few conflicts of interest. Why are these people still responsible for such an important document which clearly can be manipulated by them to favour there own interests. They need to go, cant be trusted and are clearly unable to fulfil there duties correctly


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