The dispute arose after the developer decided to shut down a pig rearing unit and demolish an old farm house. He said he had done so because the council had told him it would approve his planning application.

Later when he made his application, the council said there was no such agreement and refused permission.

A planning inspector upheld that decision. However, the inspector’s report didn’t give a full explanation as to how he arrived at his conclusion.

This was particularly important in relation to the reasons why the pig rearing unit had been closed down. The council said it was for environmental reasons; the developer said it was because the council had indicated it would grant permission.

The inspector inaccurately stated in his report that the unit had b
een forced to close for environmental reasons. The inspector also failed to make clear whether or not he agreed that the council had said it would grant permission.

The developer complained that the inspector had prejudiced his case for further appeals. It put him at a disadvantage because he didn’t know the inspector’s opinion about whether there had been an agreement with the local authority.

The court granted his application to have the inspector’s decision quashed. The
judge said: “The inspector ought to have informed the parties whether he accepted [the developer’s] argument that he had closed the pig rearing unit on the understanding that the local authority had agreed to give permission for alternative development on the site.

“He did not do so, merely referring to the evidence and the dispute between the parties.”

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