Rumsey v Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport & The Regions (2000)
There was no sustainable basis for challenging an inspector's refusal to grant planning permission for an extension to a bungalow in an area of outstanding natural beauty and an area of great landscape value. Appeal by the claimant ('R') pursuant to s.288 Town and Country Planning Act 1990 from a decision by an inspector appointed by the first defendant dismissing R's appeal from a decision of the second defendant ('the council') refusing him planning permission for an extension of his home, by way of adding a floor to the existing bungalow, and approximately doubling its size. The bungalow stood beyond the Green Belt, in an area of outstanding natural beauty and an area of great landscape value. The council refused permission because of the harmful conflict between the proposed development and various policies for protection of the countryside. The inspector concluded that, although the development, if taken in isolation, would have a limited effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding area, the precedent that would be set and the cumulative impact that subsequent developments could be expected to have, would have an adverse effect on the character and appearance of the area, such as to justify the refusal of permission. R contended that: (a) the inspector had identified no basis for his conclusion on the precedent effect; (b) he had misunderstood the true nature of the council's case on the issue of precedent; and (c) he had given no legally adequate reasons for his decision. HELD: (1) The court did not accept that the inspector's approach was "baseless". The council had provided some written evidence, the issue had been discussed at the hearing, and above all the inspector had had the benefit of his planning experience, a site visit and view of the area. All these were a sufficient foundation for his conclusion on the issue of precedent. (2) The inspector had not misunderstood the council's case. (3) There was no inadequacy in the inspector's reasoning.