- Actual use required for ten years immunity material change of use (Hedges v SoSHCLG)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Planning analysis: In October 2019 Cornwall Council enforced against a change of use from an agricultural field to a holiday use for the stationing of caravans and tents. Mrs Hedges appealed, arguing that the ten-year immunity period from enforcement had accrued with the use commencing in July 2009. She provided evidence of mobile shower/toilet facilities, signs, adverts and bookings in July 2009. There was no evidence of actual use in 2009. Appeal dismissed. On a section 289 statutory challenge Mrs Hedges argued that the Inspector should have followed Welwyn and looked at the matter ‘in the round’ instead of focusing on actual use. His Honour Judge Jarman QC judged that the Inspector was entitled to focus on evidence of use as this was a case involving a material change of use, not dwellinghouse construction as in Welwyn. Lord Mance’s observations in Welwyn should be applied to the nature of the breach enforced against. Written by Sarah Fitzpatrick, head of Planning, partner at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP.
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