If you object to planning proposals in your area, it is essential to get legal advice straight away or you could forfeit any legal rights that you may have. In one case, two householders suffered exactly that fate because they delayed voicing their opposition to a housing development in the green belt.
Planning permission for the development on the site of a former garden nursery was initially refused by the local authority; however, the developer successfully appealed to a government planning inspector. The householders played no part in that process and had no communication with the inspector before he reached his decision.
Nevertheless, they subsequently mounted a judicial review challenge to the grant of planning consent. It was submitted that the project would harm the openness of the green belt and that the inspector had irrationally failed to treat it as a major development.
However, the householders’ failure to air their concerns during the planning process was fatal to their claim. Although their lawyers argued that they were plainly more than mere busybodies, the High Court found that they could not be viewed as ‘persons aggrieved’ by the grant of consent. In those circumstances, they had no legal standing to challenge the inspector’s decision.