Friday, July 13, 2012

The strange case of the miltary installation in the residential area

As some may know as part of the security precautions for the Olympic games the MOD has decided to site missile batteries on tower blocks; for some strange reason the residents of said blocks weren't entirely happy and took them to caught court.

The resulting judgement is slightly surreal and can be read in full here.

The highlights are as follows:

The MOD has no requirement to consult with anyone as to where they site anything because i) nothing in law says they have to, ii) they never said they would, iii) they've never done it before, and iv) there was only one option so there was nothing to consult on.

So if the MOD themselves decide that your property is the only possible place they can work then they don't have to consult with you to identify other sites and can happily stick a tank on your lawn.

What about planning permission, surely that should apply to the MOD just as it does to everyone else?

Even if the temporary use of the tower block constituted a material change of use and required planning permission, which the secretary of state did not accept, planning permission was automatically granted by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 art.3 and schedule 2.
Hmm that's odd. Schedule 2 is a list of automatically permitted development and it doesn't mention military applications. So the judge themselves has defined it as a temporary use and it's on the roof therefore it would fall under Class C (roof) of Part 4 (temporary) of Schedule 2; or it would if there was a Class C in Part 4 of Schedule 2. There isn't so it's not covered by permitted development.

The closest we get is part 12 of article 3 that states that part 10 (of article 3) doesn't apply to a "project serving national defence purposes". Except it still needs to be listed under section 2 to qualify and it doesn't.

Now it gets strange. Apparently having a missile silo stuck on your roof won't impact your day-to-day activities, the residents should have complained earlier and it will in no way make them a target for terrorists.

Now it gets scary. The judge states that "Had H properly understood the facts, the instant application would not have been brought." In other words they're only complaining because they don't understand what's happening that "Further, H had been notified that their tower block was the only suitable site and the plan had been approved by senior government officials." and that finally
 "The court recognised that there were aspects of decision-making which lay solely with the executive, namely national security, defence and foreign relations. The courts were ill-equipped to make such decisions, and they lay within the exclusive province of the executive."
In other words - the residents shouldn't have complained because people far more important than them said it was okay to do this and that the court has no right to say otherwise .

Seriously follow the legal reasoning of that - the MOD can do whatever they like and you have absolutely no recourse to a legal hearing. Awesome.


Orphi said...

“took them to caught”?

FlipC said...

Can I blame predictive text... no just homophones and my brain being distracted.