Chepstow woman wins planning appeal thanks to Donald Trump
Twm Owen, local democracy reporter
A Chepstow woman will be allowed to move into a bungalow in the nearby countryside thanks to former US president Donald Trump.
Monmouthshire County Council had insisted a planning condition drawn up more than 50 years ago meant the property could only be a home to a local agricultural or forestry worker and refused to provide Angela Corner a certificate to say it would be lawful for her to live there.
But now more than a year since the council made its decision, in December 2021, and a just months short of two years since Ms Corner submitted the application in April that year, the refusal has been overturned – in part due to a legal case brought by the man who served as the 45th president of the United States.
Ms Corner appealed the council’s decision, which meant she couldn’t legally occupy the bungalow, known as Grove View in Bully Hole Road, Shirenewton, to Planning and Environment Decisions Wales and put forward a case related to Mr Trump’s golf course on the Scottish coast near Aberdeen.
Independent planning inspector Anthony Thickett agreed the 2015 case law involving the former president – well-known for his outspoken and forthright views – trumped the outdated legal arguments Monmouthshire council had tried to use to defend its decision.
Mr Thickett highlighted the judgement in the case brought by Trump International Golf Club Scotland stated the importance of what a “reasonable reader” would understand words in a public document to mean.
The council’s position was that the 1966 planning permission meant the bungalow had to be occupied by an agricultural or forestry worker but Mr Thickett said it was wrong for the council’s planning officer to interpret the permission as placing a restriction on who could occupy the home in future.
The permission for a “Woolaway type bungalow on existing smallholding to be occupied by full time agricultural worker” was granted in the year the nearby Severn Bridge opened and when England won the football World Cup.
Condition one of the permission stated: “‘The proposal is permitted on the understanding that the bungalow will be occupied by a person employed or last employed locally in agriculture as defined under Section 221 of the 1962 Act or in forestry, and the dependents of such persons and is to be permanently attached to the existing smallholding’.”
“The reason for the condition was ‘To ensure the occupant of the bungalow is a ‘bona fide’ farmworker’.”
But Mr Thickett said the condition only refers to what is allowed and doesn’t set out what isn’t permitted and the phrase “permanently attached” applied to the building. He also said the condition allowed people other than “agricultural workers” referenced in the permission to occupy the bungalow.
He said the word “understanding” in the condition doesn’t amount to a restriction on future occupants and said: “I consider a reasonable, informed reader would take the view the bungalow intended to house an agricultural worker. But, for the reasons given above, I do not consider that same reader would take the view that first or subsequent occupation was limited to an agricultural worker.”
Mr Thickett has now issued the certificate of lawful use.
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