The Supreme Court has granted permission to Suffolk Coastal District Council and Cheshire East Council to appeal the landmark decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of Suffolk Coastal D.C. v Hopkins Homes and Richborough Estates Partnership LLP v Cheshire East Borough Council.
The decision re-opens the controversy over the meaning of "relevant policies for the supply of housing" in paragraph 49 of the NPPF. A clear definition of the term has eluded decision makers and several conflicting decisions were hoped to be resolved by the Court of Appeal's decision in April 2016. In his judgement in the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Lindblom had come down on a "wide" definition, which had included policies for the protection of Green Belt and AONB as "policies for the supply of housing" to be treated as "out of date" where a Council could not demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply and triggering the presumption in favour of planning permission in paragraph 14 of the NPPF.
Suffolk Coastal D.C. had also sought permission to challenge a second ground in the judgment where the Court of Appeal had ruled on the approach to assessing the impact of development on the significance of heritage assets.
The grant of permission by the Supreme Court leaves the issues open to reconsideration in full.
This is the first time the Supreme Court has considered the NPPF. It also gives the Court the opportunity to reconsider the principle in Tesco v Dundee that holds that the meaning of planning policy is a matter of law.
Jonathan Clay and Ashley Bowes of Cornerstone Barristers instructed by Trevor Griffiths of Sharpe Pritchard solicitors appeared for Suffolk Coastal D.C in the Court of Appeal and prepared the grounds for the permission application for Suffolk Coastal in the Supreme Court.