Owen Devenport were recently engaged by long term clients, North Wales Police, to assist with an application to vary a condition to allow the use of their firing range by other authorised organisations such as gun clubs, rather than restricting its use to just the Force and other emergency services.

The application submission required that we provide a detailed report highlighting that the proposal would not change the character of the use, and instead would allow more effective use of the firing range and would provide income to offset its cost to the tax payer. Detailed information was also provided on the controls that would be put in place to manage the use of the site by other organisations, and following discussions with Officers a suitable set of measures was agreed with the application recommended for approval by Officers at the Planning Committee.

During discussion of the application at the Committee concerns from local residents as to the potential increased risk and fear of gun crime were raised by Councillors, which resulted in the Committee voting to refuse the application. However, following the Committee meeting the Authority’s Planning Officers contacted us expressing their concerns with the decision and the potential for an award of costs against the Authority in any subsequent appeal. We endorsed these views and raised our concerns as to the quality of the decision, and subsequently the application was returned to Committee where Councillors sensibly opted to approve the application.