Even More Assets of Community Value

Listing of Assets of Community Value is moving in to another gear.  More than ever seem to be getting listed, more Review Hearings seem to be happening and there’s murmurings in the High Court about ACVs too.

If you’d like to know a bit more about ACVs (or if you’d just like to pop along, say hi, have a cuppa and a biscuit and make that really is a photo of me over there –>) then why not drop in to one of Civic Voice’s ACV events?

Fresh from my latest ACV Review Hearing (concerning a heritage railway and a car park – check back for another blog post shortly) I’ll be in Bristol (29th March) and London (17th April) talking all things ACV, public involvement in planning, Direct Public Access to instructing barristers and even a little bit of Judicial Review.

So come say hello, have some tea and settle down to some great Asset of Community Value stuff.

See you then!

Scott

Assets of Community Value

What’s this?  Another blog post so soon?

Well, after telling you about all the fabulous opportunities to come and say hi, I thought you might like to know about another blog.

Recently launched is our Assets of Community Value blog.  Why not check it out?

You’ll get blog posts related to all things ACV from me and others in Chambers.  So if you’re interested in finding out about developments in the field of Assets of Community Value head on over and sign up.

Oh, and if you’re in York on 5th November you can pop over to the Mansion House – the whole team will be there, talking on Town and Village Greens, Assets of Community Value and Rights of Way.  We know how to mix it up.  Oh yes.

Scott

Get Away From Your Computer

I know it’s been a while since I’ve been sat at mine writing blogs for you all.  It’s because you’ve all been keeping me astonishingly busy with a phenomenal volume of work (for which I am very grateful – thank you all very much!).  But a side effect is that I just can’t get back to blogging as much as I would like.

Hang on – you lot aren’t keeping me occupied just so I don’t put up posts on here, are you?

So it’s an odd thing for me to get back to blogging and the first thing I say is ‘get away from your computer’.  Why would I say that?

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School’s Out…For Summer?

Doubtless in order to help improve the nation’s reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic, the nattily entitled Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2013 introduces permitted development rights for the change of use of buildings to schools.

But, somewhat ironically (given that ‘school’ uses are the subject matter) the DCLG decided to split these classes into two smaller classes.  So you get two separate classes of ‘school conversion’ permitted development rights – new Part 4 of Schedule 2 (temporary uses) Class C and new Part 3 of Schedule 2 Class K.

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Words That Strike Fear…

…into the hearts of men (and women, but ‘people’ just doesn’t finish the title properly).

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2013 is a veritable feast of changes for the General Permitted Development Order 1995, itself now so heavily amended that it puts Michael Jackson’s transformation over the years into the shade.

Aside from the eye-watering number of brackets used in the title (a recurring theme of Parliamentary draftsmen in recent years, it seems) the 2013 Order introduces swathes of changes, such that I can’t hope to do them justice in one post.

First up – the new Class J appearing in Part 3 of the Second Schedule to General Permitted Development Order (I know, exciting as it is, please do try to control yourselves).  In English, office to residential conversions. Read more of this post

Know your memes – Waya and the Supreme Court (Part One)

On 14th November 2012 the Supreme Court gave judgment in the case of R. v. Waya [2012] UKSC 51.  A nine-Justice court delivered a majority decision, split 7-2.  We’ll go through both the majority and dissenting minority decisions, but what the dissenting minority (Lord Phillips and Lord Reed) seem to think of the majority decision can be neatly summarised thus:

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Knowing Your Elbow From Your…

For me the past few weeks have been taken up by a sudden rash of prosecutions for breach of various planning controls, in particular a number of Tree Preservation Orders matters, in which I have been mostly instructed for the defence.

And in just about every case the same thing has happened.

The manner in which the prosecution have gathered and presented their evidence has completely ignored basic rules of evidence, procedure and well-known case law of some long standing.  Which results in an easy (and predictable) win for the defence, with prosecutions being stayed, defendants discharged and (sometimes) awards of wasted costs against the prosecuting authority.

The most astonishing thing about it all was how fundamental some of the mistakes have been – for example:

1. Including witness statements in bundles that were to be put before a tribunal of fact – a classic giveaway that whoever advised on the contents of the bundle does not know their criminal evidence & procedure;

2. Seeking to rely on evidence of motive, knowledge or intention in a strict liability case (where a defendant’s state of mind is irrelevant) – this evidence is inadmissible from the outset;

3. Charging defendants with contravening provisions which were not in force at the time the alleged offences were committed – check your commencement dates before issuing the Informations and Summons.

The obvious point being that, had the prosecution instructed a lawyer who regularly practised in criminal law none of those results would have gone the defendants’ way.  In the meantime, I’ll keep on taking the low-hanging fruit while I’m instructed for the defence…

Scott

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