Hallam Land Management Ltd-v-The Scottish Ministers
31 March 2009
This case relates to a statutory appeal against the refusal by East Dunbartonshire Council to grant a positive certificate of appropriate alternative development ("CAAD") for a site which Hallam had acquired in the 1970s. The Council certified in 2002 that the only acceptable use of the land would be amenity space for informal recreation and nature conservation interests ( a "negative certificate"). Hallam had wanted to build houses there but a series of refusals of planning consents effectively sterilised the land. Hallam used the planning legislation to force the Council to purchase the land, which they did. In order to enhance the price they would be paid for the land Hallam sought a CAAD. Hallam appealed the negative CAAD to the Scottish Ministers who appointed a Reporter to hold an inquiry, usually referred to as a shadow inquiry because the residential development under discussion will never take place. The Reporter recommended a limited development on the northern part of the site only. The Scottish Ministers went further and restored the Council's negative certificate. That decision was appealed to the Court of Session successfully in 2004. The Scottish Ministers then issued another decision letter in similar terms. Hallam again appealed.
The Lord Ordinary (Brailsford) refused the appeal. The Inner House allowed the appeal and quashed the Scottish Ministers' decision essentially on the ground that they failed to treat as cancelled the notional proposal underlying the deemed use of compulsory powers (open space for informal recreation). The case is of interest for its discussion of the relationship between the purchase notice provisions under the Planning Acts and the compulsory purchase regime particularly section 25 of the Land Compensation (Scotland) Act 1963.
J. Gordon Reid Q.C. and Ruth Crawford Q.C. both of Axiom Advocates appeared for Hallam and the Scottish Ministers respectively.
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