Park Estate (Bridlington) Ltd v East Riding County Council

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtHouse of Lords
JudgeViscount Simonds,Lord Morton of Henryton,Lord Radcliffe,Lord Cohen,Lord Evershed
Judgment Date08 June 1956
Judgment citation (vLex)[1956] UKHL J0608-1
Date08 June 1956

[1956] UKHL J0608-1

House of Lords

Viscount Simonds

Lord Morton of Henryton

Lord Radcliffe

Lord Cohen

Lord Evershed

East Riding County Council
and
Park Estate (Bridlington) Limited

Upon Report from the Appellate Committee, to whom was referred the Cause East Riding County Council against Park Estate (Bridlington) Limited. That the Committee had heard Counsel, as well on Tuesday the 10th, as on Wednesday the 11th, days of April last, upon the Petition and Appeal of the East Riding County Council, praying. That the matter of the Order set forth in the Schedule thereto, namely, an Order of Her Majesty's Court of Appeal of the 31st of March 1955, might be reviewed before Her Majesty the Queen, in Her Court of Parliament, and that the said Order might be reversed, varied, or altered, or that the Petitioners might have such other relief in the premises as to Her Majesty the Queen, in Her Court of Parliament, might seem meet; as also upon the printed Case of Park Estate (Bridlington) Limited, lodged in answer to the said Appeal; and due consideration had this day of what was offered on either side in this Cause:

It is Ordered and Adjudged, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in the Court of Parliament of Her Majesty the Queen assembled. That the said Order of Her Majesty's Court of Appeal, of the 31st day of March 1955, complained of in the said Appeal, be, and the same is hereby, Affirmed, and that the said Petition and Appeal be, and the same is hereby, dismissed this House: And it is further Ordered, That the Appellants do pay, or cause to be paid, to the said Respondents the Costs incurred by them in respect of the said Appeal, the amount thereof to be certified by the Clerk of the Parliaments.

Viscount Simonds

My Lords,

1

This appeal raises a question of exceptional difficulty. It arises upon a so-called" enforcement notice" given by the Appellant County Council to the Respondents under the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, which the Court of Appeal, affirming the Divisional Court, have directed to be quashed under section 23 (4) of that Act.

2

The relevant facts can be briefly stated and I summarise them from the Case Stated by the Justices for the East Riding of the County of York.

3

An enforcement notice under the Act dated the 26th April, 1951, to which I will refer in detail, was duly served by the Appellant Council in its capacity of local planning authority upon the Respondents relating to land in the said county referred to in the notice, of which the Respondents were at all material times the owners. The use of this land as a site for temporary dwellings or a holiday camp began in 1934 and all development on the land material to these proceedings was carried out before the 1st July, 1948, that being the appointed day for the purposes of the Act.

4

I now turn to the enforcement notice and must state it at length.

5

It is headed

6

" East Riding County Council. Town and Country Planning Act, 1947.

7

Enforcement Notice."

8

It is addressed to the secretary of the Respondents and to whom it may concern, and it gives notice in these terms:

"that the development or other matter hereunder specified appears to them"

9

(i.e. the County Council) "to be in contravention of planning control, namely: the erection or placing and the use for residential and ancillary purposes of temporary dwellings and other erections On Land known as Limekiln Lane Camp, Bridlington, in the said County": the location is then described by reference to the Ordnance Map and an annexed plan, the temporary dwellings and other erections are enumerated and described and the notice proceeds:

"And they hereby require that the following steps shall be taken within two years from the date on which this Notice takes effect:—

(1) The use of the said land for residential purposes shall be discontinued.

(2) The said temporary buildings and other erections shall be removed or demolished and the materials thereof removed from the said land.

(3) Any materials, sheds, huts or fences brought onto or erected on the said land in connection with the construction, use or demolition of the said temporary dwellings and other erections shall be removed.

(4) Every use of the said land except the use thereof for the purposes of agriculture shall be discontinued.

Subject to the provisions of the above-mentioned Act, this Notice will take effect at the expiration of twenty-eight days after service hereof.

Expressions used in this Notice have the meanings assigned to them by the above-mentioned Act except where the context otherwise requires."

10

Finally, there is on the face of the notice, after the date and the signature of the clerk to the Council, a note in these terms "Your attention is drawn to the notes set out on the back of this notice". These notes ( inter alia) refer with sufficient accuracy to the provisions of section 23 and section 24 of the Act in regard to making application for permission for the retention of buildings or works, or the continuation of a use, to which the notice relates and to the right of a person, if aggrieved, to appeal to the appropriate Petty Sessional Court on one or other of the grounds therein stated. The notes also referred to the penal consequences of non-compliance with the notice.

11

I have now stated the terms of the notice and call attention to two matters of importance. In the first place, there is no suggestion that the provisions of any other Act than the 1947 Act had been infringed, and in the second place no mention, direct or oblique, is made of section 75 of the Act, which is, as will appear, the all-important section.

12

Availing themselves of section 23 of the Act the Respondents preferred a complaint by way of appeal to the Justices whom I have already mentioned whereby they sought to have the notice quashed. It is provided by section 23 (4) ( a) that the Court, if satisfied that permission was granted under that Part (Part III) of the Act for the development to which the notice relates or that no such permission was required in respect thereof, or, as the case may be, that the conditions subject to which such permission was granted have been complied with, shall quash the notice to which the appeal relates; by section 23 (4) (b) that the Court, if not so satisfied, but satisfied that the requirements of the notice exceed what is necessary for restoring land to its condition before development took place or for securing compliance with the conditions, as the case may be, shall vary the notice accordingly, and by section 24 (4) ( c) it is provided that in any other case the Court shall dismiss the appeal.

13

It is clear that the grounds on which the Justices may quash an enforcement notice are strictly limited and do not exhaust the possibilities of challenge. This is recognised in section 24 which provides that the validity of such a notice shall not in any proceedings be disputed upon a ground which might have been raised in an appeal under section 23. Other grounds of defence—for example to take a conspicuous example, that the notice was not bona fide—remain open to the person aggrieved.

14

Secondly, it is clear that those grounds on which the Justices may quash a notice relate precisely to the earlier subsections of section 23. Subsection (1) provides that, if it appears to the local planning authority that any development of land has been carried out after the appointed day (i.e. the 1st July, 1948) without the permission required in that behalf under that Part of the Act or that any conditions subject to which permission was granted in respect of any development have not been complied with, then (subject as therein mentioned), they may serve on the owner and occupier of the land an enforcement notice under the section. Subsection (2) prescribes the requisites of such a notice and is important. It enacts that the notice shall specify the development which is alleged to have been carried out without the grant of such permission as aforesaid or, as the case may be, the matters in respect of which it is alleged that any such conditions as aforesaid have not been complied with, and may require such steps as may be specified in the notice to be taken within such period as may be so specified for restoring the land to its former condition or for securing compliance with the conditions as the case may be and otherwise as therein mentioned. Subsection (3) provided for the time within which an enforcement notice should take effect: in the present case nothing turns on this subsection.

15

I pause, my Lords, to observe that section 23, to which alone the enforcement notice in the present case refers, deals solely with development after the appointed day and with permission required to be given under the Act of 1947, but the development to which the notice referred had in fact all taken place at an earlier date, so that permission under that Act could not have been required for it. In these circumstances it might well have appeared to the Respondents that they had ample ground for asking the Justices to quash the notice on the specific ground mentioned in section 23 (4) ( a) that no permission was required under the Act of 1947 in respect thereof. Their attention had not been called, nor have I yet called your Lordships' attention, to section 75 of the Act, upon which it appears that the Appellant Council relied and relies. I will do so in due course.

16

The Respondents, as I have said, preferred their complaint to the Justices and before them advanced a number of contentions in which the distinction between the grounds upon which that Court had statutory power to quash the notice and the grounds upon which in other proceedings its validity might be challenged was not properly observed. From this some confusion has arisen. It was in the first place contended that the Act was highly technical and as it encroached...

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