Transcript now available in significant brownfield land judgment

01 Jan 2018

Planning and Environment

The transcript of the judgment of Charles George QC (sitting as Deputy High Court Judge) has now become available in Dartford Borough Council v SSCLG [2016] EWHC 635 (Admin.).

The Court held that only “private residential gardens” in “built up areas” were exempt from the definition of “previously developed land” or “brownfield land” within the NPPF. The decision has potentially widespread consequences as brownfield land has a special status throughout national policy, for example:

Limited infilling or the complete redevelopment of brownfield sites is not inappropriate development in the Green Belt (para.89 NPPF)Brownfield land is prioritised for development (para.17 & 111 NPPF)

It is a curious result that land outside the built up area (an undefined term in the NPPF) is prioritised for development, whereas land within the built up area, by definition more sustainable, is not. It is also a notable judgment for not adopting the purposive approach to the construction of the NPPF adopted in other cases, notably by the Court of Appeal in Hopkins Homes Ltd v SSCLG [2016] EWCA Civ. 168, in which the Court re-wrote paragraph 49 NPPF to give effect to the Minister’s intention (see Lindblom LJ at [32]).

Ashley Bowes acted for Dartford BC and is advising them whilst they consider whether to appeal the decision.

Please click here to read the judgment in full.