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Donald Trump case law helps woman to win planning appeal in Monmouthshire

A COUNCIL which lost a planning appeal as a result of case law involving a legal case brought by former US president Donald Trump has said it will continue to defend historical planning decisions. 

Monmouthshire County Council was last week told it was wrong in 2021 to deny a Chepstow woman permission to move into a bungalow that had been built in 1966 for an agricultural worker. 

Though the bungalow, named Grove View on Bully Hole Road, Shirenewton, had been empty since 2017, council officers said Angela Corner couldn’t live there as a planning condition meant it was to remain a property for agricultural workers. 

As a result the council refused in December 2021 to grant Ms Corner a certificate to say she could lawfully live in the property. 

That saw Ms Corner lodge an appeal where she put forward a 2015 judgement, from the UK Supreme Court, issued following legal action launched by the former US president’s Trump International Golf Club Scotland in Aberdeen. 

That judgement stated the importance of what a “reasonable reader” would understand words in a public document to mean. 

 The independent inspector who considered the case said the planning condition, written more than 50 years ago, wasn’t clear and didn’t prevent future occupation of the bungalow by people who aren’t employed in agriculture and granted Ms Corner the certificate. 

But planning officer Phil Thomas told the county council’s planning committee despite losing the appeal it still plans to defend any similar cases in future. 

He said: “We were a bit disappointed in the outcome as in the past we’ve had these sort of old aged conditions, which were drafted at the time, we’ve had instances where inspectors have replaced the old condition with a modern up to date condition.” 

Mr Thomas said the council believes it should maintain a stock of lower cost housing in rural areas for those in agriculture or rural enterprise. 

He also said modern conditions are more tightly worded and clear and usually state “occupation shall be restricted to those…” or similar. 

He added: “We think the inspector looked quite narrowly at this and had seen the flaw in the condition  and has not seen the bigger picture and the intent behind the condition. 

“We will continue our approach. We won’t necessarily give up on these older conditions where we are confronted with either a removal of them, or a certificate of lawfulness (application), we will seek to see whether we can get the modern condition imposed bearing in mind other inspectors have gone along with that approach.”