Proximity of School ‘Relevant Consideration’ for Change of Use Application


When considering an application for change of use of a property, a local authority was required to take into account the fact that it was near a school. Local resident Edward Copeland, who lived opposite the school, sought judicial review of a decision by Tower Hamlets London Borough Council to allow a planning application for change of use of premises from its former use as a grocers to a takeaway business called ‘Fried and Fabulous'.
The Council’s planning officer had told councillors that the proximity of the school had not been a ‘material consideration’ in the decision-making process. The court found, however, that the healthy eating policy at the nearby Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate School was a ‘social objective’ that councillors should have taken into account when voting on the planning application. The court further found that, if the councillors had been advised that the school’s healthy eating policy was a relevant factor, the result of the vote might have been different. The court therefore overturned the decision allowing the change of use.
This case highlights the need for public authorities to give proper weight and consideration to each of the elements that inform a decision, or risk having to pay the costs of a successful challenge brought by way of judicial review.
If you have been the victim of an ill-considered decision made by a public authority you may, in some circumstances, be able to challenge the validity of the decision. We can advise you on your individual circumstances.

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