A COUNCIL will have to pay costs to a woman who took it to a planning appeal and lost. 

Monmouthshire County Council had refused Shannon Connolly planning permission for a block of eight stables, a menage (riding area), and a barn to be used as an outbuilding, as well as the proposed access to the planned equestrian site north west of Holly Lodge at Five Lane North, Caerwent. 

The controversial application was refused in July last year and had prompted a petition from local residents and an objection from Caerwent Community Council, which said some “supportive comments for the application are not local” and had agreed it should support its “local community” in opposing it. 

But though Ms Connolly’s appeal against the county council’s decision was dismissed by independent inspector Richard Jenkins, he did find the authority should have to pay her costs related to an enforcement notice it issued her over alleged unauthorised sheds, outbuildings, mobile homes and freight containers at the same site. 

Mr Jenkins found the enforcement notice issued by the council contained “multiple defects” and the requirements it expected of Ms Connolly “went well beyond the matters constituting the alleged breach of planning control”. 

As a result he ruled the council has demonstrated “unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary expense” and he could therefore award full costs to Ms Connolly. 

She will now have to submit details of the costs to Monmouthshire council with a view to reaching an agreement over the amount of taxpayers’ money it must hand over to her for its errors. 

If the council and Ms Connolly cannot agree on an amount then, Mr Jenkins said, “an application for a detailed assessment by the senior courts office should be considered”. 

Due to the inspector raising concerns about the enforcement notice it has been withdrawn by the council. 

However Ms Connolly didn’t succeed in her application for cost related to the appeal against the refusal of planning permission as no “unnecessary expense” was incurred. 

That appeal failed as Ms Connolly had only submitted “sketches” rather than detailed plans for the building and development she was proposing. 

The council had verified her application but when it came to making a decision rejected it stating the plans were “insufficient in terms of detail, clarity and accuracy” and it couldn’t therefore make a recommendation they be approved, a decision the inspector upheld.