Opportunistic claim rejected in family dispute

The High Court rejected a claim by the owners of land in Norfolk who asserted that an inspector should have imposed a condition requiring the provision of a footpath across their land, a judge stating that it was an 'opportunistic' challenge.

The inspector had allowed an appeal involving housing on adjoining land which was owned by the claimant’s brother. The claimant stated that a condition requiring the provision of a footpath was required in order to make the development acceptable and made representations to the local planning authority when it considered the application.

An appeal was lodged and prior to the inspector determining the matter the claimant withdrew his objection. The inspector subsequently determined that the connection was not required and this was challenged on the basis that this prejudiced the claimant’s interest because the footpath would have crossed a strip of land which he owned and which would have been used to extract a ransom payment from the developers.

Mr Justice Lindbolm decided that the claimant had no legal standing to bring the claim because he was not in the eyes of the law a ‘person aggrieved’ by the decision. It was an attempt to thwart his brother’s plans and the inspector had made no error in law in deciding that the proposed footpath link was not required. The fact that this negated the value of the ransom strip was of no relevance given the inspector’s reasoning.

JB Trustees Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Date 19 November 2013

Ref: CO/12109/2012

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