In response to an excessively liberal jurisprudential conception of the interest to act in urban planning, the legislator defined in 2013 the contours of this one (Article L. 600-1-2 of the Urban Planning Code).
Apart from the State, local authorities and associations, any person wishing to appeal against an authorization to build, demolish or develop must justify that the construction, development or works "are likely to directly affect the conditions of occupation, use or enjoyment of the property...".
This codification of the definition of the interest in taking action has considerably tightened the conditions for the admissibility of action in contestation of planning authorisations, since previously, the mere proximity to the neighbouring project was sufficient to give the applicant an interest in taking action.
Initially, the Conseil d' Etat applied this text strictly, requiring the applicant to specify "the infringement which he invokes to justify an interest giving him standing to act, by stating all sufficiently precise and substantiated elements such as to establish that this infringement is likely to directly affect the conditions of occupation, use or enjoyment of his property; "(Brodelle and Gino (EC, 10 June 2015, no. 386121): JurisData n° 2015-013930).
The immediate neighbour could no longer simply argue that his property was close to the site of the impugned project. He had to establish how "the conditions of occupation, use or enjoyment of his property" could be directly affected (EC, 10 Feb. 2016, No. 387507, SAS Sifer Promotion: JurisData No. 2016-002076).
However, by various judgments delivered on 13 April 2016 (EC, first and sixth ss-sect. reunited, 13 Apr. 2016, n° 390109: JurisData n° 2016-007519; EC, 1st and 6th cs-sect. united, 13 Apr. 2016, n° 389799: JurisData n° 2016-007517; EC, 1st and 6th cs-sect. united, 13 Apr. 2016, n° 389801; EC, 1st and 6th cs-sect. reunited, 13 Apr. 2016, n° 389802: JurisData n° 2016-007518), the Conseil d' Etat changed its jurisprudence, reserving a special status to the immediate neighbour recital:
that, having regard to his particular situation, the immediate neighbour justifies, in principle, an interest in taking action when he refers to the court, which rules on the basis of all the documents in the file, elements relating to the nature, importance or location of the construction project.
The immediate neighbour thus enjoys a presumption, exempting him from having to establish how the conditions of occupation, use or enjoyment of his property would be affected by the project in question.
This quality is not reserved to the one whose parcel of land is adjacent to that of the disputed project's head office since in these cases, the neighbours located at 2.3 and 12 of the street were all considered as such, the disputed project being situated at number 4 of the street.
As in the present case, it can thus be argued by the immediate neighbour that he would necessarily suffer the consequences of the project in terms of sight, living environment, peaceful enjoyment of his property as a result of the works and potential traffic difficulties.
In order to edify judges on the nature, importance or location of the project, the immediate neighbour can produce cartographic documents, situational maps, the application for a permit or the permit obtained.
The Council of State thus restored the presumption of interest in taking action enjoyed by the immediate neighbour prior to the 2013 reform, most recently confirming its position (Council of State, 20 June 2016, No. 386932).