Judgments - Regina v. City of Sunderland (Respondents) ex parte Beresford (FC) Appellant

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92.  For these reasons, and for the further reasons set out in the speeches of my noble and learned friends Lord Bingham of Cornhill and Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, I would allow this appeal and quash the decision which the City Council took by its licensing committee. I reach this conclusion with mixed feelings. The campaigning group named Washington First may feel that they have won a famous victory, and saved an important public amenity from being built on. That seems to be the likely consequence of this case. But the campaigners have achieved that end by a route which has by-passed normal development controls, and in a way which may be thought to stretch the concept of a town or village green close to, or even beyond, the limits which Parliament is likely to have intended. Any change in the law is of course a matter for Parliament but I respectfully agree with Lord Bingham's observations as to the need for care on the part of decision-makers, whose conclusions as to the existence of a town or village green may have very important practical consequences. I also respectfully agree with Lord Rodger's observations as to the assistance to be derived from the Scottish authorities, provided that note is taken of the different meanings in which "tolerance" has been used in England and Scotland respectively.

 
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Prepared 13 November 2003