Athlone Woollen Mills Company Ltd v Athlone Urban District Council

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
Judgment Date10 December 1950
Date10 December 1950
Athlone Woollen Mills Co., Ltd. v. Athlone Urban District Council.
THE ATHLONE WOOLLEN MILLS COMPANY, LIMITED
Plaintiffs
and
THE ATHLONE URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL
Defendants.

Local Government - Town and regional planning - Planning scheme - Interim period - Application for special premission to rebuild structure - Second application to repair and renew the same structure upon identical plans - Res judicata - Compensation - Date of "giving" of interim direction - Meaning of "interim direction" - Town and Regional Planning Act,1934 (No. 22 of 1934), ss. 26, sub-s. 1; 57; 59 - Town and Regional Planning (Amendment) Act, 1939 (No. 11 of 1939), s. 14, sub-ss. 1, 2 -Town and Regional Planning Regulations, 1939 (Stat. R. & Or., No. 180of 1939), Art. 6.

Witness Action.

The defendants, the Athlone Urban District Council, as the district planning authority for the urban district of Athlone, by resolution of the 5th June, 1945, decided to make a planning scheme for their area. On the 3rd July, 1946, the plaintiffs, the Athlone Woollen Mills company, Ltd., applied pursuant to s. 57 of the Town and Regional Planning Act, 1934, for a special permission to reconstruct their mills, which had been almost completely destroyed by fire, and submitted for the defendants' approval plans of the"proposed rebuilding." The defendants on the 16th July, 1946, approved of the plans, subject to three conditions, and the plaintiffs appealed, under s. 59, sub-s. 1, of the Act of 1934, to the Minister for Local Government. The Minister, by order, dated the 21st November, 1946, amended the special permission so as to retain only one of the said conditions. By letter, dated the 7th December, 1946, the Department of Local Government notified the plaintiffs' solicitor of the Minister's decision, but omitted to state that the said order had been made on the 21st November, 1946. By letter, dated the 8th January, 1947, the plaintiffs claimed compensation under s. 14 of the Town and Regional Planning (Amendment) Act, 1939, in respect of the "interim direction" consisting of the said special permission subject to the said condition.

The Minister, on the 13th January, 1947, declined to entertain the application, on the ground that it had not been made within the time prescribed by art. 6 of the Town and Regional Planning Regulations, 1939. By a letter, dated the 26th March, 1947, the plaintiffs made a further application to the defendants for a special permission "to repair or renew" the structure, and re-submitted the plans. The defendants declined to approve the plans on the ground that the application was invalid or, alternatively, was covered by the special permission granted on the 16th July, 1946, as amended. The plaintiffs again appealed to the Minister, and claimed compensation. The Minister, having ruled that he must decline jurisdiction in the appeal and in the application for compensation, the plaintiffs instituted proceedings claiming declarations 1, that the letter of the 26th March, 1947, was a valid application for a special permission under s. 57 of the Act of 1934 in respect of the works specified in the said letter, and 2, that by virtue of s. 57, sub-s. 6, of the said Act that application was now deemed to have been granted, or that on the 23rd May, 1947, the said special permission was granted subject to a condition and was an interim direction under s. 14 of the Act of 1939 or that on the said date the application was refused and such refusal was an interim direction for the same purposes.

The decision of a planning authority upon an application for a special permission under s. 57, sub-s. 1, of the Town and Regional Planning Act, 1934, or of the Minister on all appeal under s. 59 of the said Act, is a judicial decision to which the doctrine of res judicata is applicable. Accordingly, an applicant is not entitled to make a second application for a special permission in respect of the same matter.

So held by Gavan Duffy P.

Semble: The expression, "interim direction," in s. 14 of the Town and Regional Planning (Amendment) Act, 1939, includes a special permission granted by the Minister on appeal.

Semble also that the date of the "giving" of an interim direction under Art. 6 of the Town and Regional Planning Regulations, 1939, is the date of its publication to the plaintiff.

Rex v. Hendon Rural District Council. Ex parte Chorley, [1933] 2 K. B. 696, approved; Swindon Corporation v. Pearce and Pugh, [1948] 2 K. B. 301considered.

Cur. adv. vult.

Gavan Duffy P. :—

The defendants are the planning authority for their district, wherein the plaintiffs' land lies, and this action concerns applications made to them as planning authority during the interval or interim period between their resolution of the 5th June, 1945, to make a planning scheme and the date when their eventual scheme shall come into effect. The Town and Regional Planning Act, 1934, was passed to provide for the orderly and progressive development, in the interest of the community, of our urban and rural areas, and to preserve amenities; the object was to be attained by planning schemes to be made by specified categories of local authorities with the approval of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health.

Having passed its resolution for a planning scheme under s. 26, sub-s. 1, of the Act, the authority is empowered in the interim period, above described, to grant, with or without conditions, to any applicant a special permission to construct, demolish, alter, extend, repair, or renew a particular structure within its planning district (s. 57); an appeal lies to the Minister, whose...

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