I read with interest in The Royal Gazette about Minister Marc Bean's decision to dismiss the appeal of Cyrus Trust, which sought planning permission for additional lots on agricultural land. The other controversial appeal decision made by Minister Bean's predecessor, the former Minister Walter Robain, concerned Zanzara Trust, which sought planning permission for warehouses to be built in Devonshire Marsh. According to The Royal Gazette article, the Zanzara Trust appeal was withdrawn.
Both Trusts had submitted applications that were refused by the Development Applications Board, appealed to the Minister, recommended for refusal by the Planning Inspector but allowed (granted planning permission) on appeal by then Minister Robain.
Given that the Minister's decision on appeal is final, on what legal basis did Minister Bean overturn the decision made by his predecessor, the Hon. Mr. Robain?
I have not read either file but neither Trust could have claimed to receive planning permission from the Minister on appeal if the Trusts did not also receive a decision letter stating the same. Did Minister Bean formally revoke the prior permissions granted by Minister Robain?
The Development and Planning Act 1974 (section 25) does provide the Minister with the power to revoke decisions where it is necessary to do so. The expectation is that the Minister would be correcting errors made by the Development Applications Board, not errors made by the previous Minister!
Which makes this process very curious indeed.
If I was a prospective developer, I would be wary of a planning process that makes up rules as it goes along. I trust that due diligence was attended to in this case, and that Minister Bean's decision-making is clear and transparent to anyone who picks up the files.