QUESTION 1 [ALL CANDIDATES SHOULD ANSWER THIS QUESTION]:
Mr Johnson, an elected councillor and member of a local authority’s Planning Committee, agreed
to sell a large plot of land he owned within the local authority’s administrative area to a local
development company who agreed to purchase the land only if it received planning permission
for 1000 houses. The company subsequently submitted an outline planning application for the
site. This included an ownership certificate that stated that the company owned the land although,
at the time the application was submitted, it still belonged to Mr Johnson.
Property prices in the local authority area are high and housing affordability is a growing issue.
Nevertheless, in the Authority’s local plan, which was adopted around two years earlier, the land
which was the subject of the planning application is designated as being within the green belt and
not allocated for development. However, political control of the local authority changed at the last
local government elections (some six months earlier), and the leaders of the new controlling group
are in favour of new housing development, especially to meet the needs of elderly local people.
Mr Johnson attended the subsequent planning committee meeting which determined the
application, although he didn’t speak and abstained from voting. The members of the new
controlling political party had been threatened with disciplinary action from the party if they failed
to support the application. The subsequent decision was not unanimous but there was a small
majority in favour of granting planning permission, subject to a condition reducing the overall
number of houses to 800 and a section 106 agreement making provision for:
(a) off-site highway works, including construction of a nearby new dual carriageway road (which
would not directly link to the proposed site) to be paid for by the developers as the existing roads
in the area were already fairly congested;
(b) the sale of 200 of the new dwellings to people over the age of 60 at a discount of 50 percent
of the normal market price;
(c) a one-off payment of an additional £500,000 towards the provision of sheltered
accommodation for elderly people elsewhere within the council’s area.
The application was not advertised as a departure and the development company indicated that
they would be prepared to accept these provisions which would be in addition to the local
authority’s usual charges under their approved Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). However, a
nearby land-owner considered the outcome of this planning application to be unfair and
inconsistent as she had previously owned the land in question but her application for a similar
housing development on the site had been refused some 18 months earlier on the grounds that
no departures from the local plan could be permitted. She had subsequently sold her land, at
agricultural land value, to Mr Johnson.
With reference to relevant legislation, regulations and associated case law,
discuss the potential legal issues raised by this planning application process and
evaluate whether the nearby land owner has any grounds for legally challenging
the outcome of the planning application.
QUESTIONS 2-6 [CANDIDATES SHOULD ANSWER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING
2. With reference to relevant case law, discuss how the definition of development has
been interpreted by the Courts in respect of either operational development or
material changes of use.
3. Discuss the role of the statutory development plan when determining a planning
application and whether this has changed since the publication of the National
Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2012 and its subsequent revisions.
4. Outline the advantages and disadvantages of the different procedural methods that
a planning appeal, under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990,
might be determined. Then, with reference to relevant case law, discuss how the
Courts have applied the concept of natural justice when determining legal
challenges to planning appeal decisions.
5. Outline the powers available to local planning authorities to remedy breaches of
planning control and the circumstances under which an interested party can appeal
against an enforcement notice. Discuss whether you consider these powers to be
6. Discuss the third-party rights that can exist over land and the implications these
can have for future land owners who wish to develop their land.