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ELMBRIDGE BC's DECISION TO CLOSE SUNDAY MARKET UNLAWFUL

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A judge at London's High court has given the operators of a Sunday market at Brooklands in Surrey the right to a fu...
A judge at London's High court has given the operators of a Sunday market at Brooklands in Surrey the right to a full judicial review of a council decision to close the facility.

Justice Harrison ruled in London's High Court that Wendy Fair Markets Ltd (WFM) had an 'arguable' case that Elmbridge BC's decision to close the 160-stall market was unlawful.

The judge opened the way for WFM, which runs about 50 Sunday markets nationwide, to challenge a 'stop notice' issued by the council on August 2.

The stop notice was due to have come into force tomorrow and would have stopped the Brooklands Sunday market from trading from next Sunday onwards.

Justice Harrison granted a 14-day 'stay of execution'. If arguments can be prepared in time, WFMs' full judicial review application is expected to be heard in the latter part of next week.

W FM which opened in May 1992 applied for planning permission to run the market in August 1992 but were turned down by Elmbridge BC in January last year.

After the market had been operating for about 10 months in March last year, the council issued an enforcement notice requiring cessation of the market as breach of planning control.

WFM appealed to an Environment Ministry Inspector against both the refusal of planning permission and the enforcement notice, but the appeal was dismissed in May this year.

The Inspector ruled that there were no 'exceptional circumstances' justifying a departure from Green Belt policy.

WFMs' counsel, Christopher Cochrane QC, told the court the company were mounting an appeal to the High Court against the Inspector's decision and would be disputing whether the market site was in the Green Belt.

The council issued the 'stop notice' on August 2 and it is that decision which WFM now challenges by way of judicial review.

James Findlay, for the council, said Brooklands fell within a 'strategically important but narrow part of the Green Belt'. WFM had been 'knowingly' running the market in breach of planning control, he added.

Justice Harrison said there was insufficient evidence before him to show the council had taken all relevant matters into account before issuing the stop notice.

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