Can the residents, owners and/or occupiers of properties located within the immediate vicinity of a proposed development object to a proposed development order that had been issued by the local authority?
PERBADANAN PENGURUSAN TRELLISES & ORS v. DATUK BANDAR KUALA LUMPUR & ORS  2 CLJ 808
- This case concerns a development order issued by the Datuk Bandar of Kuala Lumpur (“DBKL”), which affected Taman Rimba Kiara, a public park nestled within Taman Tun Dr Ismail (“TTDI”) and Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.
- Taman Rimba Kiara was developed by the local authority of Kuala Lumpur as a public open space, green area and recreational area for the general public, in accordance with the gazetted Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 and the draft Kuala Lumpur Local Plan 2020.
- In June 2016, DBKL notified the public through a notice that it had received an application for planning permission to develop, inter alia, a block of affordable apartments and 8 blocks of luxurious service apartments (“Proposed Development”) on a piece of land in Bukit Kiara (“Subject Land”).
- The Subject Land was to be developed by Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd (“Developer”) following a joint venture agreement (“JVA”) it had entered into with Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (“Yayasan”).
- The title to the Subject Land was issued in 2014.
- In 2015, the Developer applied to DBKL for planning permission for the Proposed Development.
- DBKL issued a notice of the development plan and an advertisement was carried in the local newspapers, inviting comments or objections with respect to the Proposed Development.
- The neighbouring residents, owners and occupiers of the Said Land (“Neighbouring Residents”) objected to the Proposed Development on the ground that it would significantly increase the density of TTDI and irreversibly degrade Taman Rimba Kiara as a green lung.
- DBKL issued a notice of hearing and a hearing was convened and attended by the representatives of the Neighbouring Residents who all voiced out their objections against the Proposed Development.
- At the hearing, the Neighbouring Residents also learnt that the Proposed Development also included a proposal and/or plan to construct a new flyover together with a highway-cum-expanded road network in TTDI which was not specified in the notice issued by DBKL.
- Following the hearing, the Neighbouring Residents wrote to the authorities including DBKL, Yayasan and the Developer (collectively, the “Proposers”) to reiterate their objections but this was met with no response.
- It was only in April 2017, that DBKL informed the Neighbouring Residents that the Proposed Development was still under evaluation and they would be informed once a decision had been made.
- However, in July 2017, without any clarification on the status of the Proposed Development or any notice, the Neighbouring Residents discovered that (i) the Developer was carrying out survey works at Taman Rimba Kiara; (ii) conditional planning approval for the Proposed Development had been granted; and (iii) a development order was granted for the Proposed Development (collectively, “Impugned Decisions”).
- The residents commenced a judicial review application at the High Court seeking to, amongst others, quash the Impugned Decisions of DBKL.
- DBKL argued that the Neighbouring Residents has no rights/locus standi to bring the court action.
- The High Court found in favour of the Proposers and the Neighbouring Residents appealed to the Court of Appeal.
COURT OF APPEAL DECISION – APPEAL ALLOWED!
Amongst others, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal on the following basis:
- The Neighbouring Residents had the requisite grounds to initiate the judicial review proceedings of DBKL’s decision because they had real and genuine interests in the subject matter of the judicial review which was the effect the Impugned Decision had on them.
- The Neighbouring Residents had amply shown that they were adversely affected by the Impugned Decision in that they were residents, owners and/or occupiers of the properties located within the immediate vicinity of the Proposed Development and were users of Taman Rimba Kiara where the subject land was located.
- Therefore, they had the locus standi to bring the action.