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Dartford BC v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2016] EWHC 635 (Admin)

DATE: 21 Jan 2016

In this case, the claimant Council sought the quashing of an Inspector’s planning appeal decision granting permission for the change of use of land to a private traveller site, on the basis that the Inspector had erred in holding that the definition of “previously developed land” (PDL) in the Glossary to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) excluded private gardens in built-up areas but not private gardens in the countryside. 

Charles George QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) accepted the Secretary of State’s submission that the wording of the NPPF was clear in confining the ‘private gardens’ exception in the definition of PDL to land in built-up areas. The Council’s interpretation was therefore untenable, since planning policy could not be given an interpretation that the words cannot bear. 

Charles Banner appeared for the Secretary of State, instructed by the Government Legal Department.