Section 69 of the Planning Act 1990

The High Court has dismissed a landowner’s judicial review challenge to a local planning authority’s decision to designate Oxford Stadium (a former greyhound racing track and speedway stadium) as a conservation area under section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (LBA 1990).

The court held that:

The word “area” in section 69 has a very wide scope and connotes an unspecific size. The fact that the proposed area is enclosed as a single entity (even if in unconnected uses, abandoned or in multiple ownerships) does not prevent the enclosure and the land and the buildings being an “area” for section 69 purposes. The absence of public access or visibility to an area is not an issue.

The correct approach to designation is to establish what the lawful requirements are for an area to be an “area” for the purposes of section 69. The local planning authority must then apply those requirements to the facts rationally.

This decision provides helpful clarification of what constitutes an “area” for the purposes of designation as a conservation area and will interest local planning authorities and developers.

R (GRA Acquisition Ltd) v Oxford City Council [2015] EWHC 76 (Admin)

Written by James Naylor

Partner, CG Naylor LLP.