Social Welfare Lawyers in the Centre of Birmingham

R (Dartford Borough Council) -v- Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (SSCLG)

R (Dartford Borough Council) -v- Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (SSCLG) [2016] EWHC 635 (Admin), 21 January 2016

This application for planning permission for a Gypsy and Traveller site concerned land in the curtilage of a farmhouse.  The Planning Inspector granted planning permission.

The local authority challenged that grant.  The main challenge concerned the question of “previously–developed land”.

At paragraph 111 the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that:-

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 Glossary to the NPPF defines “previously-developed land” as:-

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…land in built-up areas such as private residential gardens, parks, recreation grounds and allotments….

Charles George QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) concluded:-

It is impossible to read the definition of previously-developed land … in such a way as to exclude from it private residential gardens which are not in built-up areas.  To do so is to contradict the clear words used in the definition (para 36).

He continued:-

The exclusion of residential gardens in built-up areas has a rational explanation in that ‘garden grabbing’ is a particular (and some feel undesirable) phenomenon of built-up areas (para 37).

Accordingly the challenge to the grant of planning permission was dismissed.


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