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England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions >> Flanagan & Anor v South Bucks District Council  EWCA Civ 690 (16th May, 2002)
Cite as:  EWCA Civ 690,  WLR 2601,  1 WLR 2601
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COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)
ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE,
QUEENS BENCH DIVISION.
London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE SUMNER
| Martin Flanagan|
|- and -|
|South Bucks District Council||Respondent|
Smith Bernal Reporting Limited, 190 Fleet Street
London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7421 4040, Fax No: 020 7831 8838
Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
Mr Kolvin (instructed by Sharpe Pritchard, London WC1V 6HG) for the respondent
AS APPROVED BY THE COURT
Crown Copyright ©
Lord Justice Keene:
“In an attempt to progress these matters, or indeed dispose of them, my Councils Committee has approved 2 courses of action in the alternative, namely:-
1. If Mr Martin Flanagan agrees to withdraw his appeal against the Council’s Section 215 Notice dated 5/1/96 or the Magistrates agree to refuse/dismiss his appeal then the Council will agree to withdraw its 2 prosecutions against Mr Martin Flanagan for breach of the 1980 and 1997 Enforcement Notices relating to land south of Church Road, Farnham Royal.
2. If Mr Flanagan Junior agrees to take full responsibility for the land south of Church Road, Farnham Royal and provides the Council with satisfactory written evidence as to his interest in the said land and current place of abode for service of papers, the Council will agree to withdraw the 2 prosecutions against Mr M Flanagan re the 1980 and 1997 Enforcement Notices to instead pursue Mr Flanagan junior and to withdraw the Section 215 Notice dated 5/1/96 and reissue same updated as necessary to take account of the items currently on the said land which are considered to adversely affect the amenity of the surrounding area.
In either case, you are also instructed to attempt to pursue abortive costs against Mr Martin Flanagan.
If neither of these options are agreed by Mr M Flanagan or the Court and Mr M Flanagan confirms his intentions to proceed with his appeal against the Section 215 Notice then the Council would also require its 2 prosecutions to proceed.
It should be made clear to avoid any future doubt, however, that both the 1980 and 1997 Enforcement Notices remain in breach and that the Council has powers to carry out works in default pursuant to section 178 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to secure compliance at the landowner’s costs and the Council reserves the right to take such action regardless of the outcome of the current prosecution proceedings and the suggestions outlined above.
Similarly, the section 215 Notice has not been complied with and the Council again has powers to carry out works in default pursuant to section 219 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to secure compliance therewith. Whilst the current matters before the Magistrates may be disposed of, the Council does not thereby condone the current state of the land. I have no objection to you placing this letter before the Court and Mr M Flanagan and/or his legal representative in an attempt to reach some productive outcome at the next hearing on 10 June 1998”
“actual or ostensible authority to bind the local authority”
There was no reasoning given for that conclusion. The judge concluded that the claimant was estopped, and in consequence the claim for an injunction was dismissed.
“it is unhelpful to introduce private law concepts of estoppel into planning law.” (para. 33)
Although he recognised the analogy between private law estoppel and the public law concept of a legitimate expectation created by a public authority, Lord Hoffmann pointed out that remedies against public authorities also have to take into account the interests of the general public (para 34). It is clear that the House saw the earlier cases where estoppel had been applied in planning law as an attempt to achieve justice at a time when the concepts of legitimate expectation and abuse of power had scarcely made their appearance in public law. Now that those concepts are recognised, there is no longer a place for the private law doctrine of estoppel in public law or for the attendant problems which it brings with it.
Mr Justice Sumner: