Duty bound

26 Nov 2023

Missing plans on a council’s online planning register led to a dismissed appeal plus a full award of costs to the appellant for mounting an appeal that could not succeed, and for incurring legal fees for two sets of counsel opinion in the process, none of which would have been necessary if the relevant site plan had been available.

The appeal concerned approval of details of a manure management plan at a horse livery and training stables, required by a condition of a sec.73 permission sanctioning an increase in the number of horses stabled at the site. The council refused to approve the details of the proposed manure storage area, because it fell outside the red line boundary defining the limit of operational development on the sec.73 application site location plan. On this basis, the inspector agreed the planning merits of the case could not be considered and dismissed the sec.78 appeal (400-042-668).

However, in an application for costs, the appellant asserted that the correct plans should have been available to view on the online planning register, and claimed the council had acted unreasonably in failing to maintain the planning register as required by the DMPO.

The inspector agreed that if the council had kept its online planning register properly up to date, counsel opinion provided to the applicants would have identified that the manure storage area would be located beyond the site and beyond the jurisdiction of the permission itself, holding that it was likely that the appeal could have been avoided altogether.

The legal requirements of a local planning authority to maintain and make publicity available a register of planning applications including plans and drawings, are explored in detail DCP 5.1511.