Enforcement against moorings

August 7, 2015

The Broads Authority’s enforcement action against the unlawful use of an old boatyard basin for private mooring has been upheld in the Planning Court, [2015] EWHC 2368 (Admin). The case emphasises the difficulty of interpreting old planning permissions, and considers the question of abandonment.

The Inspector dismissed Mr Wood’s appeal against an enforcement notice, in which he had tried to rely on a 50-year old permission to argue that there were no restrictions on the type of mooring allowed. Mr Justice Lindblom held that the inspector had not ventured further than he should have done to establish the meaning of the planning permissions he was considering. The plans and drawings describing the building works are as much a part of the description of what has been permitted as the permission notice itself. It is not a question of resolving an ‘ambiguity’. The inspector was also correct in considering the use for which the basin had been “designed”, under section 75(3) of the 1990 Act, and he was also entitled to have regard to the development which had in fact been carried out. The decision in I’m Your Man does not displace the effect of section 75(3). It cannot enlarge the true scope of a grant of planning permission for the construction of a building so that the permission can be taken to authorize the use of that building for a purpose other than that for which it is designed.

A link to the Jugement is available here

William Upton acted for the Broads Authority and was instructed by nplaw.