Plans for a new four storey building in Victoria Street will have to be reconsidered after the owners of an adjacent block of flats today won a court battle at London’s High Court to quash planning permission.

Deputy Judge John Howell QC, ruled in favour of W.E. Black Ltd, who own a block of flats at 53 Victoria Street, and quashed planning permission given in October to West Register (Realisations) Ltd to develop a vacant plot next door at number 55.

Lawyers for W.E. Black argued at a court hearing earlier this week that St Albans District Council shouldn't have granted planning permission because living rooms in their property will be "overshadowed" by the proposed building.

The council argued that there was already a previous planning permission for a four storey development on number 55 in place when the owners of number 53 carried out a residential conversion of their property.

It maintained that this was a material consideration it was entitled to take into account.

However, Stephen Whale argued on behalf of W.E. Black that the earlier planning permission lapsed without being implemented in June 2014.

That was four months before this second permission which is now under challenge was granted.

As a result, he argued that it should not have swayed the opinion of the Council's planning officer on the key question of impact on neighbouring properties.

The judge ruled that, while W.E. Black hadn't managed to establish that it didn't know that a four-storey redevelopment was on the cards, the earlier granting of planning permission shouldn't be used as a reason to reject the claimant's arguments.