Killian Garvey, acting for West Lancashire Borough Council, secured the dismissal of two appeals relating to the siting of a residential caravan on land in Scarisbrick, West Lancashire.

The case is interesting as it touches upon the need (or lack thereof) for proofs of evidence in planning appeals.

The Appellants had submitted no proofs of evidence in advance of the inquiry, notwithstanding the fact that the Council and the case officer at PINs had highlighted this omission to them.

Nevertheless, the Inspector was content to hear the Appellant’s oral evidence at the inquiry. Moreover, in the Inspector’s conclusions within the costs decision, the Inspector found that the Appellant’s had not been unreasonable in not submitting any proofs of evidence. The Inspector said as follows:

Turning first to procedural matters, Rule 13 of The Town and Country Planning (Inquiries Procedure)(England) Rules 2000 requires any person entitled to appear at an inquiry who proposes to give evidence at the inquiry by reading a proof of evidence to submit that proof in accordance with a stated timetable. However, in neither of these appeals does it appear that there was ever an intention to read a proof but to give evidence orally.

However, through the oral evidence at the Inquiry, the Appellants entirely conceded their respective cases. The Inspector, therefore, awarded a full costs award in respect to both appeals on the basis that it had been unreasonable for the Appellants to pursue their cases given that there was no reasonable prospect of success.

The appeal decision and costs decision can be found by following the links in this article.    


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