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10-YEAR DELAY FOILS JUDICIAL REVIEW CHALLENGE

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Case no: CO/0402/96 ...
Case no: CO/0402/96

A 73 year-old Devon woman who has waged a five year legal battle since her neighbours were given planning permission to extend their home, was told by a high court judge that she had reached 'the end of the road'.

Mr Justice Sedley thanked Violet Cornish for the 'courtesy and clarity' with which she had argued her case in court, but added: 'I hope she will accept for her part that this is the end of that particular road'.

'I hope she will accept that the rules of the court are there not merely to put obstacles in the way but to try to hold a fair balance between all the competing interests that come into play.

'The unhappy situation in which she finds herself is one that she has to live with rather than devoting her time to fighting (court) applications which I am afraid cannot succeed'.

The judge said Mrs Cornish and her husband, Harold, had been refused planning consent to extend their home at Eastlands, Mary Tavy, Tavistock, but their immediate neighbours were in 1987 granted permission for an extension.

He commented: 'She comes back before the court over the fact that, as she asserts, Devon County Council wrongly gave their neighbour permission to build to a height of more than three feet above the level at which they could and should lawfully have permitted it.

'This, she says, was not only wrong in law in itself, but has had a deleterious effect upon her enjoyment of her own home.' But the judge said Mrs Cornish had already fought to overturn the planning permission through the courts and her case was finally dismissed by the court of appeal in 1991.

And it was now too long after the planning permission was granted in 1987 for her to mount a judicial review challenge.

Explaining the delay in bringing her case to court, Mrs Cornish said her life had been plunged into turmoil by the death of her husband in 1988, coupled with her own poor health.

Mr Justice Sedley said he understood that Mrs Cornish's 'sense of grievance' was as strong today as it had been in 1991.

But the lapse of almost ten years since her neighbours were granted planning permission posed 'insuperable difficulties' to her case.

Mrs Cornish had her judicial review application dismissed.

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