Today, Globe learned that their appeal against a refusal by Islington Borough Council had been allowed, and our client, the Appellant, had been awarded costs against the Council.
This appeal was rather an unusual case. It focused on the change of use of a disused brick Park Keeper’s Hut situated in Dalmeny Park, which is within the Tufnell Park Conservation Area. The Council had previously declared the building surplus to requirements and then sold the Hut to our client, who proposed to create an access from their adjoining garden and convert it into a garden room. The Council stated that the capital generated by the sale would be utilised to make improvements to the park and its children’s play area. At this point, the process appeared to have been entirely normal and sensible, that was until our client made their application for the change of use of the hut to enable their planned conversion. Our client’s application was refused on the grounds of the Hut being within an area designated as Public Open Space, and the Council’s contention that the proposed change of use would therefore result in a loss of Public Open Space, which is contrary to policy.
Globe prepared a Statement of Case for the appeal which challenged Islington Borough Council’s interpretation of the relevant policies contained within the London Plan and their own Local Plan. Globe was also able to draw on its experience of local government and estates management to confirm that the Council had correctly applied the requirements of Section 123 of the Local Government Act 1972 before disposing of the Hut, allowing us to demonstrate to the Inspector that the Council had considered the issue of public benefit before deciding to dispose of the building. Globe’s Statement therefore presented a strong argument that, when applying the relevant policies to our client’s application, Islington Borough Council had failed to take account of a significant material considerations. The Inspector agreed with this argument, ultimately allowing the appeal and awarding our client costs on the grounds that the Council had acted “unreasonably contrary to the guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework and the PPG”.