The Court of Appeal has today handed down judgment in the East Staffordshire Borough Council v Barwood Land II LLP appeal. The Court upheld the judgment of the High Court which quashed an inspector’s decision on the basis that he wrongly treated the presumption in favour of sustainable development as applying despite having accepted that the local planning authority could demonstrate a five year supply and there was no other relevant deficiency in the development plan (i.e. it was not absent, silent and relevant policies were not out of date for any other reason). The Court of Appeal has therefore definitively confirmed that the benefit of the presumption can only be obtained in the circumstances defined by NPPF para.14 and that Mr. Justice Coulson’s view to the contrary in Wychavon District Council v SSCLG is wrong. The Court also took the opportunity to explain the operation of NPPF para.14 more generally, including by providing an explanation of the proper approach to “specific policies” and footnote 9. The case therefore represents the most up-to-date, comprehensive and important authority yet concerning the workings of NPPF para.14, and is arguably destined to have a greater practical effect than the Supreme Court’s recent judgment in Richborough Estates.


John Hunter acted for the local planning authority who brought the claim and successfully resisted the appeal. John has also appeared in a number of other recent leading cases concerning the interpretation of NPPF paras.14 and 49, including Richborough Estates in the Court of Appeal and Cheshire East in the High Court.

For the Appeal decision, please click here.


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