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A government planning inspector's decision to give the all clear to a ...
A government planning inspector's decision to give the all clear to a

Maidenhead man to keep six floodlights around his tennis court in a green

belt area, on the basis that they were 'incidental to the enjoyment of a

domestic garden', has come under fire in London's high court.

And, in a hearing which lasted only a matter of minutes, planning judge

Mr justice Richards granted permission for Windsor & Maidenhead RBC to challenge the decision at a full court hearing later this year.

The council wants the planning permission for the floodlights, granted to Mr

P Myners, scrapped and now it has been given permission, will ask another leading

judge at the full hearing to order the secretary of state responsible for

planning to reconsider the matter.

Mr Myners sought retrospective planning permission, in January 2001, for the

six floodlights on six-metre-high poles situated at the corners and at

either end of the net of his tennis court, which had only recently won

planning approval itself.

But, in May last year, the council refused to grant permission for the

floodlights, which are set in the north west corner of the half-hectare

grounds of The Dower House near a pool and pool house. The house is a Grade

Two listed building of special architectural or historical interest, on a

metropolitan green belt site designated in 1995 as part of the Burchetts

Green Conservation Area.

Then, in July, the council took enforcement proceedings against Mr Myners,

giving him three months to remove the flodlights, but he challenged its

enforcement notice before one of the secretary of state's inspectors.

He allowed the appeal and granted planning permission, finding that the

council's written submissions, in which it acknowledged that use of part of

Mr Myners' large garden for outdoor sport and recreation was appropriate in

the green belt but argued that the floodlights were inappropriate

development, were 'illogical'.

The inspector wrote: 'As the floodlights are incidental to the lawful use of

the land for recreation or enjoyment of a domestic garden, it must be

considered appropriate development in the green belt.'

In written submissions before the court last Thursday, the council's lawyer Ian

Albutt argued that the decision should be quashed as the inspector had

misunderstood and misapplied national planning policy guidance in failing

properly to consider the appropriateness of the development and its effect

on the openness of the green belt.

Referring to the submissions before the inspector before he made his

decision, he said: 'The case on behalf of the council was that the erection

of floodlights and poles is inappropriate development in the green belt and

causes harm to the rural character and openness of the area.

'The development also has a detrimental impact on the amenities of the

adjacent residential dwellings to the north and constitutes a visually

intrusive feature.'

Noting that neither the secretary of state nor Mr Myners had sought to

contestthe council's application for permission in court on Thursday, and noting

that Mr Albutt was therefore 'flying solo', Mr justice Richards said that

after reading the written submissions he had formed the provisional view

that the council should have permission.

He said: 'There being nobody to seek to displace that provisional view, I

grant permission.'

Thanking the judge, Mr Albutt then commented: 'That was a very enjoyable

solo flight.'

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