ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT, QUEENS BENCH DIVISION
Mr Charles George QC
(sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge)
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
(VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COURT OF APPEAL, CIVIL DIVISION)
LORD JUSTICE LEWISON
| DARTFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL
|- and -
|THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ORS
MR C BANNER (instructed by the Government Legal Department) for the Respondent
Hearing date : 9 March 2017
Crown Copyright ©
Lord Justice Lewison:
"Previously developed land: Land which is or was occupied by a permanent structure, including the curtilage of the developed land (although it should not be assumed that the whole of the curtilage should be developed) and any associated fixed surface infrastructure. This excludes: land that is or has been occupied by agricultural or forestry buildings; land that has been developed for minerals extraction or waste disposal by landfill purposes where provision for restoration has been made through development control procedures; land in built-up areas such as private residential gardens, parks, recreation grounds and allotments; and land that was previously-developed but where the remains of the permanent structure or fixed surface structure have blended into the landscape in the process of time."
i) It was within the curtilage of a permanent structure (namely Shirehall Farm) and
ii) It was not excluded as "land in built-up areas such as private residential gardens, parks, recreation grounds and allotments".
"That is not to say that such statements should be construed as if they were statutory or contractual provisions. Although a development plan has a legal status and legal effects, it is not analogous in its nature or purpose to a statute or a contract. As has often been observed, development plans are full of broad statements of policy, many of which may be mutually irreconcilable, so that in a particular case one must give way to another. In addition, many of the provisions of development plans are framed in language whose application to a given set of facts requires the exercise of judgment. Such matters fall within the jurisdiction of planning authorities, and their exercise of their judgment can only be challenged on the ground that it is irrational or perverse… Nevertheless, planning authorities do not live in the world of Humpty Dumpty: they cannot make the development plan mean whatever they would like it to mean."
"land in built-up areas such as private residential gardens, parks, recreation grounds and allotments"
"take account of the different roles and character of different areas, promoting the vitality of our main urban areas, protecting the Green Belts around them, recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside and supporting thriving rural communities within it;" and
"encourage the effective use of land by reusing land that has been previously developed (brownfield land), provided that it is not of high environmental value;"
"As with previous Green Belt policy, inappropriate development is, by definition, harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved except in very special circumstances."
"limited infilling or the partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed sites (brownfield land), whether redundant or in continuing use (excluding temporary buildings), which would not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt and the purpose of including land within it than the existing development." (Emphasis added)
"Local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside unless there are special circumstances…"
"Planning policies and decisions should encourage the effective use of land by re-using land that has been previously developed (brownfield land), provided that it is not of high environmental value."
"The development plan is a carefully drafted and considered statement of policy, published in order to inform the public of the approach which will be followed by planning authorities in decision-making unless there is good reason to depart from it. It is intended to guide the behaviour of developers and planning authorities."
"By replacing over a thousand pages of national policy with around fifty, written simply and clearly, we are allowing people and communities back into planning."
"The NPPF was introduced in 2012 as a new, self-contained statement of national planning policy to replace the various policy guidance documents that had proliferated previously. The NPPF did not simply repeat what was in those documents. It set out national planning policy afresh in terms which are at various points materially different from what went before."
"… in a situation where a word, such as here "false", has two distinct, and distinctively important, meanings, there is a genuine ambiguity which makes it legitimate, in construing Rules which are expressions of the executive's policy, to consider what the executive has said, publicly, about its rules. Clearly, what a minister says in Parliament, expressed as an assurance, and especially on the occasion of a debate arising out of the tabling of amended rules, is of particular, and may be of decisive, importance…"
"The public nature of these documents is of critical importance. The public is in principle entitled to rely on the public document as it stands, without having to investigate its provenance and evolution." (R (TW Logistics Ltd) v Tendring DC  EWCA Civ 9,  2 P & CR 9 at )
Lady Justice Gloster, Vice-President of the Court of Appeal, Civil Division: