In R (Hague) v Warwickshire County Council (2008), the claimants sought to quash the decision of a planning inspector to include the subject land, which they owned, in the green belt separating Kenilworth from Coventry. The decision had wiped out the development potential of the land.
The key issue was whether the inspector was entitled to conclude that the land had been originally excluded from the green belt area because of administrative convenience. He had found that the original green belt boundary had been drawn following the boundary of the then Kenilworth Urban District Council, which later gave way to Warwick District Council.
Mr Justice Andrew Collins allowed the claim and quashed the inclusion of the triangle of land in the green belt. He found that the inspector had erred in his conclusion regarding the inclusion of the land within the green belt and also in concluding that exceptional circumstances existed that necessitated a change to the classification of the land so as to include it in the green belt.
He said: "In this case there is no proper basis for the conclusion that the inspector reached. The way he expresses it is itself erroneous, because there has been no later event to falsify the original decision. Equally, there is no positive evidence that the fundamental assumption that caused the land to be excluded was that it was based upon a purely administrative convenience." He pointed out the importance of applying a consistent approach to green belt areas and to only alter a green belt boundary in exceptional circumstances. The decision was clear cut and the council sought leave to appeal but this was refused.