Kings Chambers’ John Hunter and Mark Howells are due to appear in the Supreme Court on Tuesday in the matter of “Marcus Dill -v- SOSHCLG & Stratford-on-Avon District Council – UKSC/2009/1”.

The case relates to an inspector’s decisions to dismiss Mr. Dill’s appeals against (a) the refusal of listed building consent for the removal of a pair of Grade II listed urns and piers dated to the 1720s and attributed to the sculptor John van Nost and (b) a listed building enforcement notice requiring their reinstatement to the grounds of Idlicote House, which is itself a listed building.

The Secretary of State added the piers and urns to the statutory list of listed buildings in 1986. Mr Dill argues that he was wrong to do so because they were not ‘buildings’ within the meaning of s.1(5) of the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990. He sold the piers and urns via Sothebys in or around 2013 and they are now believed to be abroad. He says that neither he nor his father, who was the owner of Idlicote House when they were listed, knew that they had been listed.

Permission to Appeal was granted to the Court of Appeal, which dismissed the Appeals in 2018. Permission to Appeal was granted by the Supreme Court in 2019.

The main issues are a) whether the Inspector erred by failing to consider whether the piers and urns were ‘buildings’ for the purposes of s.1(5) and b) The correct approach to determining whether something is a ‘building’ for the purposes of s.1(5). The case also has wider importance as the Supreme Court will be considering the extent to which it is possible to challenge such notices on appeal on the ground of the alleged unlawfulness of an underlying administrative act (in this case the Secretary of State’s decision to list the piers and urns in 1986).

John and Mark are representing the local planning authority, Stratford-on-Avon District Council, which is defending the Appeals alongside the Secretary of State.


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