• In the case of Connolly v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2009] EWCA Civ 1059, it was found that a planning inspector’s decision to provide planning permission could be quashed given they were under the incorrect impression they obtained the entire planning history of the site.

Facts of the Case

  • C’s neighbour had wished to obtain planning permission for the alteration of the sides of their property
  • The local authority did not grant the neighbour permission
  • C’s neighbour then applied for planning permission for the alterations the local council would be willing to grant (which was for the north side of the property only) but the local council refused permission again.
  • The neighbour appealed this refusal to a planning inspector. The planning inspector was only aware of the first plan to alter both sides of the property
  • C’s appeal was allowed in the Court of Appeal where it was decided that the planning inspector’s decision should be quashed.


  • Was there an error in proceedings during which the planning inspector was not fully informed about the planning history of the site?
  • Was it possible for an allegation of unfairness to be removed, in the event that new evidence implies that the absence of the planning history was both irrelevant and immaterial?

Held by the Court of Appeal

  • The Court of Appeal dismissed the claim and found that there was unfairness in the failure to tell the planning inspector about the history of planning of the site
  • An attempt at the last-minute to bring new information supporting an unpleaded ground of appeal does not take into account the judge’s finding, therefore this point was rejected.

Rix LJ

  • It was found that there was unfairness arising out of a mistake of fact and recognised that there was failure on the part of the local authority by omitting the history of the planning.
  • there was a mistake as to the previous planning history of the site, namely the omission of reference to Havering’s negative views about what was accepted before the judge as a materially identical proposal in relation to the northern flank of No.2, viz Havering’s response to application P1651.06 [37]
  •  The Connollys were not responsible for the mistake, as the judge found. It is not a question of fault, but under the 2000 Regulations Havering was responsible for co-operating in putting before the inspector the material planning history. This is what they said they were doing, but they erred. [37]