Case law - Inadequate reasons given for building in AONB

2nd November 2016


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  • Business & Industry ,
  • Built environment ,
  • Planning ,
  • Property

Author

Stephanie Wright

The Court of Appeal considers a challenge to planning permission for development in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).

In CPRE Kent v Dover District Council [2016], the Court of Appeal allowed a challenge to planning permission for development in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) because the planning committee had failed to give legally adequate reasons for its decision.

Paragraph 115 of the national planning policy framework (NPPF) states that great weight should be given to conserving landscape and scenic beauty in AONBs. Paragraph 116 advises that planning permission should be refused for major developments in such areas apart from in exceptional circumstances and when it can be demonstrated that they are in the public interest.

In this case, Dover District Council granted planning permission for 521 new homes, a resident retirement village, a hotel and conference centre at a site in the Kent Downs AONB. The High Court dismissed a challenge to the decision by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and it appealed to the High Court.

The High Court said a local planning authority authorising a development that would inflict substantial harm on an AONB must give substantial reasons for doing so. In this case, it found that the council’s conclusions on viability were not adequately reasoned.

It concluded that the planning committee had not properly explained why it had rejected the planning officer’s assessment that the development would inflict harm, noting that it had failed to engage with the officer’s reasoning. The court also ruled that the council had failed in its statutory duty to give reasons for its decision under the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011.

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