Social Welfare Lawyers in the Centre of Birmingham

Reilly – v – Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council

Reilly – v – SSCLG and Hinckley and Bosworth BC [2015] EWHC 1957 (Admin) 15 July 2015, Mrs Justice Lang.

The claimant was an Irish Traveller and one of a group of Travellers who lived at a site called the Good Friday Site in Leicestershire.  An application for planning permission was refused and an appeal was made to a Planning Inspector.  The Inspector refused the site permission and gave great significance to highways safety at the access and especially to the fact that there had been a fatal crash at the access when a vehicle was trying to turn in.

The Inspector stated:-

It is acknowledged that the tragic sequence of events stem from an error of judgment by the driver of [vehicle 1] who should not have turned into the appeal site access when he did.  Had it not been for that rash manoeuvre the chain of events that then unfolded may not have occurred.  However, a sequence of events like this or any other sequence is not needed for accidents to occur.  Only two vehicles need to be involved for drivers and/or passengers to be harmed.  Driver error also probably causes the majority of road accidents for various reasons.  Errors in themselves are not reasons to set aside concerns about safety because they could happen again. 

Mr Reilly appealed against this decision to the High Court under Section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.  Among other things he argued that the design of the site access had nothing to do with the fatal accident and that the initial collision was the result of negligent and dangerous driving by the driver of vehicle 1 and not because of inherent danger in the site access itself.  Mrs Justice Lang refused his appeal.  She concluded:-

I consider that the weight which the Inspector accorded to the factor of highway safety to be both rational and within the legitimate scope of his judgment.  Highway safety was a primary issue, and the safety both of site residents and road users was at risk (para 44). 


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Reilly Judgment (367 KB)