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Council's High Court success in caravan planning issue 

19 February 2021

Cheshire East Council has secured a High Court order forcing several families to remove their caravans from a green belt site in the borough.

The judgement follows an interim injunction, obtained last August, preventing the siting of further caravans on a privately-owned field off Broadoak Lane, in Mobberley.

The order also prevented the construction of a hardstanding, the importing of materials and erection of buildings and other structures without planning permission.But despite the court order, additional caravans were brought on to the site and additional works continued in breach of the injunction.

The council therefore commenced proceedings for contempt of court against several defendants who had been involved in the breaches.

Following a three-day trial, the previous week, the High Court in Manchester has now granted in principle a final injunction restraining further development on site and limiting the number of caravans to eight, pending the outcome of a planning appeal. 

Ten allegations of contempt of court, made against Mr Michael Maloney, were proven, following his breaches of interim injunctions. 

Admissions of contempt were made along with apologies to the court by contractors W Doherty and Sons, Total Plant Hire, Paul Rennie and Adrian Draper. All agreed to contribute towards council costs. 

The court heard that Mr Maloney is currently detained in HM Prison Altcourse for unrelated matters and was unable to attend the hearing, although he did attend the recent trial via video link. He will be sentenced at a later date.   

ICllr Toni Foxn passing judgement, The Honourable Mr Justice Turner QC, said there was a strong public interest in ensuring orders of the court are obeyed. He also found Mr Maloney’s evidence in defence of the allegations of contempt “unsatisfactory in several respects." 

Councillor Toni Fox, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for planning, said “I am extremely pleased with the outcome of the trial and the decisive way the judge has reached his verdict on both the contempt of court but also his conclusion to grant the final injunction.”

“Council officers responded quickly to local residents concerns in August in securing the injunction. Since then officers have worked tirelessly to prepare the legal case against the defendants, which has now been rewarded.  It also provides some degree of comfort for local residents that the legal process cannot just be ignored.”

Cllr Charlotte Leach, ward member for Mobberley, said: “I am very pleased with today’s outcome.  I want to thank every resident who took the time to send me evidence of the breaches of the High Court Order. I would also like to thank Cheshire East Council’s legal and planning enforcement teams who have worked hard on this case.”

The Broadoak Lane site remains subject to separate planning enforcement action, with an appeal hearing to be set by the Planning Inspectorate.