Paul Watkins wrote:
Let me say the application was passed by the Planning Committee.
The CPRE appealed , the Secretary of State turned down the Appeal.
The CPRE lodged a Judicial Review . The Judicial Review again rejected the CPRE .
The CPRE went to the High Court. They judged for & overturned the decision. The grounds were that the Committee decision minuted was not adequate ,not that the decision was wrong as I understand it. The Committee minute was reported in the same way every permission/rejection was recorded.
Interestingly the view taken was that the judgement had implications for the future of all local authority reporting planning decisions - in essence a precedent had been set.
The challenge to the Supreme Court again rested on the merits of the High Court decision . Again their decision rested on the reporting decision not on the merits of the Committee’s decision.
That is my recollection of the events as they occurred.
As a side comment the CPRE were protected by EU law -the Aarhus convention that protected them from proper legal costs limiting them to £10k, so they could continue to challenge at each stage knowing they were protected from full costs awarded against them.
I have nothing further to add & as no longer involved in local government - now fifth year- you need to go elsewhere for furtherance of your research.
By the way I have still seen an answer to my question on the substance of this Forum posting on Convenants.
Thanks you for taking the trouble to respond, Paul. Just to clarify a couple of things.
I'm fully aware that the application was passed by Committee initially but you haven't mentioned that it was on a considerably reduced basis. The council's own officers recognised that 500+ dwellings was entirely inappropriate. China Gateway then commissioned their own supposedly independent report claiming that any dilution would render the project unviable. I'm guessing that you are aware that the independence of planning officers in terms of being free from political constraints was put under scrutiny throughout. The great irony is, of course, that had DDC not decided to back the developer's dubious case so strongly, then there would probably be houses at Farthingloe now.
Your description of the Supreme Court's reasons for overturning earlier judgments is, I have to say, perfunctory. There were a number of issues that led them to their unanimous decision. I'm not going to list them all here - I don't have the time or motivation. I can only suggest that you re-read the link I posted earlier to the reasons behind the final judgment. It is far from how you have described it.
Your aside about the Aarhus convention is also misleading. It did provide CPRE with some protection against costs but their efforts still impacted heavily on their limited funds. Their campaign came with serious financial jeopardy were they to have lost. They are, of course, a charity with clear objectives and I personally found the vilification of them quite repugnant.
What remains a mystery to many is why DDC decided to spend so much public money defending China Gateway's interests and have never made a single effort to recoup it.
My interest is solely based upon the fact that CG have not gone away and the threat to this beautiful area remains very much a real one. This company is now down to a single director (domiciled in Cambodia) and remains entirely open in its stated belief that eventually it will able to use its political influence to profit from its Dover investment. CG's annual reports and accounts have been quite blatant about this over the years. They are property speculators whose only motivation is make profits from what I believe to be an entirely inappropriate desecration a our local beauty spot.
Finally, if you have any influence remaining in local politics, may I urge you to view this development in a more critical light if (or should I say when) it rears its ugly hear again.