“The Administrative Court has quashed Cheshire West & Chester Borough Council’s grant of planning permission for a watersports centre after finding that this changed from a facility for members to one for the public without proper notice to objectors.
HHJ Raeside said Clive Sykes, who lives next door to the site concerned, argued that the council failed to consult on a submission of last-minute information altering the nature of the application from members only use to that of the general public.
In Sykes v Cheshire West & Chester Borough Council  EWHC 3655 (Admin) Mr Sykes argued there was no opportunity for the public to make representations on this late information and the failure to consult was contrary to rules of natural justice.
The judge said: “Any fair reading of a combination of one or more salient planning documents published…prior to the day of the planning hearing make it palpably clear that it was their intention…that the Watersports Hub was to be for use of a private club mainly the boathouse and that had existed for many years before, well-known for its members only [policy].”
He rejected the council’s claim that the change from this to an application for a facility for public use could be reasonably called “a clarification”.
“It is difficult to imagine how a change of use of facility from members only to those of the public can possibly be described as a ‘clarification’,” he said.
“In the ordinary use of the English language this is best described as a volte-face (of course allowing the introduction of French into the English language).”
The judge though dismissed two other grounds argued by Mr Sykes, that the council failed to heed environmental protection team advice that a full assessment was needed of the noise impact, and that planning committees were misled into believing that consultees had been aware the wider public would have access to the facility.”