Monday, 20 July 2015

Planning Application for signage at John Lennon Airport

John Lennon Airport have submitted a planning application for their road signage. 

The planning applications can be viewed here. The case number is 15A/0657

Currently the signs are in place without consent and are therefore illegal advertisements. By virtue of Regulation 30 of the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 (as amended) it is a criminal offence to display an advertisement in contravention of the Regulations. The penalty on conviction for the offence is at level 4 on the standard scale (current maximum £2,500) plus £250 for each day that the offence continues.

It is contrary to public policy for a court to enforce a charge whereby a party may profit from its criminal conduct or where there is a potential for a subsequent Confiscation Order against it, and therefore all parking charges related to these signs should be considered void until planning consent is granted.

The case of Andre Agassi v S Robinson (HM Inspector of Taxes) is worth considering. Whilst not wholly aligned to the issues around these signs, it is relevant because of the principle it extols that no one should profit from their unlawful conduct. Paragraph 20 of the transcript of that case states “It is common ground that, whatever costs may be recoverable by a litigant in respect of professional services such as those provided by Tenon to the appellant, they cannot include the cost of any activities which are unlawful”. Paragraph 28 continues - “cannot on any view recover the cost of activities performed by Tenon which it was not lawful for them to perform.”

There is an interesting comment on whatdotheyknow, speculating on why the airport has been able to get away with this for so long.
Robert Hough has been a Director of Peel Holdings since 1986 and was its Deputy Chairman from 1989 to 2009 and is now a non-executive Director of Peel Holdings.
Peel owns JLA. 
Mr Hough graduated with first class honours in law from Bristol University and was admitted as a solicitor in 1970. 
Peel's reason for living is real estate, property management, property development etc so you would consider that as it needs to understand the planning processes it has within its 5000 odd very qualified employees many who are well versed in planning law. A Solicitor should have some understanding of this area of the law...or know someone who does! 
Robert Hough, formerly chairman of the North West Development Agency, was chair of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (maybe he still is) and once sat on Liverpool Mayor, Joe Anderson's 'inner' Mayoral Development Corporation board which has been described as "the effective decision making structure to develop the Liverpool agenda". 
A n independent report from ExUrbe in 2013 noted that "Peel has a presence in every organisation and on every board of note across the city of Liverpool", adding "The power and influence of the conglomerate across the North West generally - and in the Liverpool City Region in particular – has grown remarkably (and disproportionately) over the past few years. It now plays a quasi-political role in the sub-region, so entrenched has its role become in local governance". Odd then perhaps that there may be a failure of governance at JLA 
Funny that illegal signage has been on display at JLA since 2012 and no one at Liverpool City Council has done anything about it. Is the fact that Peel was represented on the City Mayor's development corporation board of relevance or purely coincidental? What excuse can Peel have for its lack of planning law knowledge? What excuse can Liverpool City Planners have especially if they are involved in regular planning meetings with Peel representatives over the development of the City? 
I see that on the JLA website it states "Councillor Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool Council and Deputy Chairman of Liverpool Culture Company, said: ”The refurbishment of the airport information desk is a vital part of a city-wide operation to provide a first-class welcome worthy of a premier European city. The airport is a key gateway and it is great to see it has an information desk which we are proud to operate. " Didn't he see the sign at the Airport then? 
Funny old world 

Peel make a substantial profit from the signs each year. In 2012 they charged Vehicle Control Systems £25,000 plus a percentage of the take (up to 35%) for the right to issue charges.

Vehicle Control Systems argue that the signs create a contract. The Prankster has analysed the signs and concludes that no unbiased, legally qualified person could argue a contract is in place when the consumer has no chance to actually read the entire contract.

The Independent Parking Committee baristas regularly rule that a contact is in place at this location.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. Would love to know what Brian 'Dodge by name, Dodge by nature' at the DVLA has to say about this.

    Firstly ignoring that bylaws are in place, and then claiming that no KADOE contract breach has ever occurred as, quite clearly, stopping is exactly the same as parking, and now this.

  2. Private Eye has ran several articles about Peel Holdings and its strong connections with the local authorities in Liverpool.