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Minerals


Minerals permission

The quarry owner appealed against the decision of the Queens Bench refusing declarations that a 1952 planning permission was active and that two quarries could be worked in accordance it. The status of the planning permission depended on the construction of a 1952 letter by which the minister granted planning permission for the winning and working of stone from those quarries and other quarries. The two quarries were entered in the list as a dormant site but the other quarries covered by the minister's letter were listed as active sites. The Court held that apart from the fact that it was impossible to be confident that either of the alternative constructions of the 1952 permission letter was plainly correct or wrong and the appeal court would not therefore interfere with the judge's conclusion; in any event the court could not make the declarations sought by the Appellant because they would have to set aside or go behind the list which could only be done in judicial review proceedings.

The Court distinguished between situations where declarations have been granted in a private law action that a planning condition was invalid and other challenges to invalid planning conditions and held:
    The distinction is that, in those cases, the challenge was to a condition in an individual planning permission. There was no reason to think that anyone, other than the landowner would be affected. The position in this case is very different. The 1996 list is intended under the old mineral permissions review scheme to be a definitive document on which the owners of land forming any part of the sites included in it and members of the public living in the area can rely in arranging their affairs. The court has power to quash a decision that a group of quarries should be included in that list as a single site, or as multiple sites and power to quash a decision to classify a site as dormant rather than active but the proper working of the scheme depends on those powers being invoked, and exercised, at an early opportunity. If the scheme is to work as intended, a challenge to the list should be made before the dates (specified in the list) at which applications are to be made and conditions determined (under paragraph 9). The time limit for applications under paragraph 6 (three months) provides an analogy. A challenge by way of judicial review, if brought within the time prescribed by the Civil Procedure Rules(also three months), would meet that requirement. A challenge in an ordinary civil action some eight years later does not.
Stancliffe Stone Co Ltd v Peak District National Park Authority [2005] EWCA Civ 747

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