Public Sector Equality Duty: planning decisions

Stroud v North West Leicestershire DC [2018] EWHC 2886 (Admin)

“40 It is important, in my view, that the courts in interpreting and applying this duty should not do so in a way that introduces unnecessary and cumbersome formality and box ticking. A duty to have” due regard” to matters does not require the decision taker in all cases to go looking for possible implications for any or all of the protected characteristics, but only to consider them properly where they are substantively raised on the facts.

41 In this case, I accept Mr Ormondroyd’s submission that this was not a decision relating to ceasing a service provided by the authority itself, and the planning authority had no power to secure that even the existing permitted use was so exercised as to continue to operate the sort of local shop presently there. In the circumstances the duty was sufficiently discharged by recording the fact that among the objections raised references had been made to elderly users of the shop, but it was not necessary to take the matter any further in circumstances in which those representations did not appear to be putting any case (and neither the officer nor the decision takers themselves considered that any issue arose) that such persons would be unable to make use of, or materially affected by having to make use of, the alternative shops that were available.”

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