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Factual Blunder Undermines Care Home Planning Permission

Decisions made by local authority planning committees can only ever be as good as the information that is put before them. In a case on point, the High Court overturned planning consent for a care home development on the basis that councillors had been significantly misled by an officer’s report.

The committee granted permission for the 64-bed facility despite objections from the owners of two neighbouring properties. The officer’s report had stated that there was an acute shortfall in the provision of care home beds in the area. That was, however, later corrected by the local parish council, which stated that there was, in fact, an overprovision of approximately three times the optimum requirement.

In upholding the neighbours’ judicial review challenge to the permission, the Court found that the officer’s report contained an error of fact that resulted in the committee being significantly misled. The error had been acknowledged during the relevant committee meeting, but only in the narrow context of flooding risks. Had the impact of the error on other aspects of the officer’s report been considered, the outcome may have been different. The planning permission was quashed.

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