Following a refusal of planning permission, it is far from unusual for the unsuccessful application to be amended and re-submitted in the hope that, the second time, the outcome will be different.
A recent case arose from this situation, after the second application was approved despite being substantially identical to the first. The planning officer who dealt with the second application was not aware of the first unsuccessful application and an appeal to have the permission quashed was launched to the Court of Appeal.
In considering the application, the Court held that if:
- there had been a mistake in the record of the planning history for the application under consideration; and
- the error was not the fault of the claimants; and
- the error was uncontentious and objectively verifiable; and
- the error was a material factor in the planning inspector’s reasoning;
then it was proper to adhere to the original decision. Accordingly, the original decision was upheld.
The reasoning for this is that it would be unfair to reverse the previous decision if there were no material change in the facts under consideration. To do so would render planning officers open to a continuing threat of judicial review of their decisions.