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Anticipated breach of planning simply not enough

17 June 2013

On 13 June 2013 Judge Seymour QC ruled that councils making an application for an injunction to restrain an apprehended breach of planning control needed to support that application with evidence.

Mr McDonagh occupied land in breach of planning control, but when informed of such control by Thurrock Council vacated the land. Thurrock Council suspecting Mr McDonagh might return applied for a permanent injunction to prevent the anticipated breach of planning control.

The High Court held that there needed to be a proper factual basis for contending that there was an apprehended breach, such as evidence of a threat or intention to breach, or material enabling an inference to be drawn. No such factual basis was presented here.

Councils should take this judgment into account whenever making an application to restrain an apprehended breach. It is simply not enough to anticipate what might occur on the basis of a previous breach alone.

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