Hall Hunter Partnership) v First Secretary of State - Analysis

R. (on the application of Hall Hunter Partnership) v First Secretary of State
Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
15 December 2006
Case Analysis
Where Reported
[2006] EWHC 3482 (Admin); [2007] 2 P. & C.R. 5; [2007] J.P.L. 1023; Official Transcript
Case Digest
Subject: Planning
Keywords: Agricultural land; Change of use; Enforcement notices; Mobile homes; Permanence; Permitted development; Planning permission; Statutory interpretation
Summary: A planning inspector had been correct in concluding that the stationing of 45 caravans on a farm for the accommodation of seasonal workers had constituted a change of use, and that the erection of many hectares of large, linked, walk-in polytunnels for growing soft fruit on the farm had constituted development within the meaning of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 s.55(1).
Abstract: The appellant farming partnership (H) appealed against two enforcement notices issued by the second respondent local authority (W) in regard to the use of a farm owned by H. Enforcement notice A related to the change of use from agriculture to the stationing of 45 caravans on the site for the accommodation of seasonal workers, and notice B to the erection over 34 to 45 hectares of the farm for nine months of the year of large plastic walk-in polytunnels for growing soft fruit. There were linked blocks of up to 24 tunnels. The farm was in the green belt and substantially within an area of great landscape value and of outstanding natural beauty. The planning inspector dismissed H's appeals against the notices and upheld them subject to an extension of time for compliance. H submitted that (1) the inspector had erred in concluding that the tunnels were "development" within the meaning of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 s.55(1); (2) if the tunnels amounted to development, the inspector had erred in concluding that they were not permitted development within the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 Sch.2 as its use of the word "operations" should be the ordinary and natural one, which would include farming operations; (3) the inspector had erred in concluding that the use of the farm for the stationing of the caravans was not permitted development by virtue of Sch.2 Part 5 to the Order.

Appeal dismissed. (1) The inspector had considered all the circumstances, particularly size, degree of physical attachment and permanence. On the facts, his conclusions were not unreasonable and on the evidence of his decision letter there appeared no conceivable error of law as to whether the erection of the tunnels amounted to development, Skerritts of Nottingham Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (No.2) [2000] 2 P.L.R. 102 applied. (2) Throughout the Act there was a distinction drawn between development by the carrying out of operations and development by the making of a material change of use, Parkes v Secretary of State for the Environment [1978] 1 W.L.R. 1308 considered. In the instant case, the inspector had been correct to characterise the activities as a use of land, not operations. (3) On the evidence, it was difficult to fault the conclusion of the inspector that the relevant land remained designed and fitted out for use as a caravan site, was occupied by caravans for a substantial part of any one year beyond mere seasonal use and would not lose its character as a caravan site merely by their being removed for a period.
Judge: Sullivan, J.
Counsel: For the appellant: Timothy Straker QC, Garrett Byrne. For the first respondent: Paul Brown. For the second respondent: Christopher Katowski QC, Alison Oakes. For the third respondent: Guy Williams.
Solicitor: For the appellant: Clifton Ingram. For the first respondent: Treasury Solicitor. For the second respondent: Local authority solicitor.
Significant Cases Cited
Skerritts of Nottingham Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (No.2)
[2000] 2 P.L.R. 102; [2000] J.P.L. 1025; [2000] E.G. 43 (C.S.); Official Transcript; CA (Civ Div)
Parkes v Secretary of State for the Environment
[1978] 1 W.L.R. 1308; [1979] 1 All E.R. 211; 77 L.G.R. 39; (1978) 36 P. & C.R. 387; (1978) 248 E.G. 595; [1979] J.P.L. 33; (1978) 122 S.J. 349; CA (Civ Div)
All Cases Cited
Sort by:
Ramsey v Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions
[2002] EWCA Civ 118; [2002] J.P.L. 1123; [2002] 7 E.G. 120 (C.S.); (2002) 99(11) L.S.G. 37; Times, March 4, 2002; Official Transcript; CA (Civ Div)
Skerritts of Nottingham Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (No.2)
[2000] 2 P.L.R. 102; [2000] J.P.L. 1025; [2000] E.G. 43 (C.S.); Official Transcript; CA (Civ Div)
Parkes v Secretary of State for the Environment
[1978] 1 W.L.R. 1308; [1979] 1 All E.R. 211; 77 L.G.R. 39; (1978) 36 P. & C.R. 387; (1978) 248 E.G. 595; [1979] J.P.L. 33; (1978) 122 S.J. 349; CA (Civ Div)
Barvis v Secretary of State for the Environment
(1971) 22 P. & C.R. 710; QBD
Brown v Hayes and Harlington Urban DC
62 L.G.R. 66; (1964) 15 P. & C.R. 284; 188 E.G. 785; (1963) 107 S.J. 931; QBD
Sunbury on Thames Urban DC v Mann
56 L.G.R. 235; (1958) 9 P. & C.R. 309; DC
Cardiff Rating Authority v Guest Keen Baldwin's Iron & Steel Co Ltd
[1949] 1 K.B. 385; [1949] 1 All E.R. 27; 65 T.L.R. 159; (1949) 113 J.P. 78; 47 L.G.R. 159; (1949) 152 E.G. 449; (1949) 42 R. & I.T. 2; [1949] L.J.R. 713; (1949) 93 S.J. 117; CA
All Cases Citing
Sort by:
Mentioned by
R. (on the application of Wye Valley Action Association Ltd) v Herefordshire Council
[2009] EWHC 3428 (Admin); [2010] 2 All E.R. 863; [2010] Env. L.R. 18; Official Transcript; QBD (Admin)
Mentioned by
Sumption v Greenwich LBC
[2007] EWHC 2776 (Admin); [2008] 1 P. & C.R. 20; [2008] J.P.L. 783; Official Transcript; QBD (Admin)
Legislation Cited
CROW Act 2000
Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 (c.62)
Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 (c.62) Sch.1
Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 (c.62) Sch.1 para.7
Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 (c.62) Sch.1 para.2
Planning Policy Guidance2
Planning Policy Guidance2 para.3.1
Planning Policy Guidance2 para.3.15
Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (SI 1995 418)
Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (SI 1995 418) Sch.2 para.A1
Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (SI 1995 418) Sch.2
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (c.8)
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (c.8) s.174(2)
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (c.8) s.174
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (c.8) s.289
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (c.8) s.336(1)
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (c.8) s.55(2)(e)
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (c.8) s.119
Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (c.8) s.55(1)
Town and Country Planning Act 1971 (c.78)
Town and Country Planning Act 1971 (c.78) s.22
Town and Country Planning Act 1947 (c.51)
Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1950 (SI 1950) Ord.950 r.1950
Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1950 (SI 1950)
Journal Articles
Let them eat apples?
Areas of outstanding natural beauty; Development; Fruit; Planning permission; Polytunnels; Sustainability.
Env. Law 2008, 43, 11-13
A plastic blot on the landscape.
Agricultural buildings; Development; Permitted development; Planning permission.
E.G. 2007, 0707, 140