JB Trustees, Phillip Jeans and Sandra Jean v Secretary of State & Dennis Jeans Development Ltd [2013] EWHC 3555 (Admin) is one of the first cases to consider standing in section 288 challenges following the Supreme Court’s comprehensive review of the topic in Walton v Scottish Ministers [2012] UKSC 44. Lindblom J held that the claimants did not have standing in circumstances where they had participated in the appeal before the Inspector but had then categorically andunequivocally withdrawn from the appeal.

The Interested Party, Dennis Jeans Developments, had been granted outline planning permission for residential development on appeal by a planning inspector. A pension fund, of which his brother Phillip Jeans was one of the trustees, owned a strip of land next to the appeal site. It sought to challenge the inspector’s decision granting planning permission. There was evidence before the Court that Phillip and Dennis Jeans were engaged in a family and financial dispute.

The Pension Fund had participated both in the application and appeal process by objecting to the proposed development but had then withdrawn its objection. In doing so it asked the inspector to disregard all the representations it had made. It had been advised and represented by planning consultants during the appeal.

Lindblom J had to apply the principles expounded in Walton v Scottish Ministers [2012] UKSC 44 to the particular facts before him which he recognised were ‘unusual’.In his view, having withdrawn its objection, the Pension Fund was then effectively in the same position as it would have been in had it chosen to make no representations at all. It was not for the court to speculate about the real reason why the objection was withdrawn when it was, and in the way that it was. But one thing was clear. The claimants were hoping to realize a ransom value for their strip of land. Yet they did not urge the inspector either to grant permission subject to a “Grampian” condition or to refuse it.

The Judge concluded that the highest  the claimants could now put their case  on standing was that though they had abandoned their objection, dropped out of the appeal process, and then said nothing to the inspector about any planning concern or any private interest of their own, or about the  conditions he should impose if he granted  planning permission, they were still hoping  his decision would yield them a ransom, but became a “person aggrieved” when it did not. The Judge held that this was not an attractive argument and he did not accept it.