A planning permission has been quashed following a judicial review as the court found that the decision had been affected by a serious procedural error.

The application was for permission to construct an extension to a semi-detached dwelling house which had been converted to an Islamic Community Centre. The street remained predominantly residential.

A neighbour to the application site objected to the application on the ground that the extension would intensify the use of the centre and cause increased noise and disturbance to the neighbouring residential properties. He also argued that the applicant had failed to comply with conditions on a previous consent and in particular had failed to submit a management plan for the site.

The planning officers' report recommended refusal but did not mention the planning history, instead focusing on the size and scale of the proposals. The neighbour submitted written objections but was not allowed to speak at committee. However, a supporter of the application was allowed to speak, as the committee thought she was speaking on behalf of the residents.

The court held that the decision had been tainted by four procedural errors:

  1. the committee report failed to summarise all of the neighbour's complaints;
  2. the neighbour had been denied the opportunity to speak at the meeting;
  3. the supporter had been allowed to speak when she was not entitled to; and
  4. the committee had not considered the planning history and the breaches of condition.

The court held that there were significant procedural flaws and the decision could not stand.

R (on the application of Kerr) v Cambridge City Council and H Ali