Court of Appeal to hear C G Fry appeal

Ramsar Sites

Today, the Court of Appeal will hear arguments in CG Fry’s appeal against the judgment of Sir Ross Cranston in CG Fry & Son Ltd v SSLUHC [2023] EWHC 1622 (Admin). The issues concern the application of the Habitats Regulations 2017 at condition discharge stage and in the context of Ramsar Sites.

The challenge arose following a planning inspector’s decision that conditions on a reserved matters application could not be discharged without an appropriate assessment of the whole of the development phase in question (which amounted to 190 dwellings).

The claimant, with the support of the Home Builders’ Federation, advanced three grounds of challenge to the inspector’s decision: (1) whether a Habitats Regulations Assessment must be undertaken at condition discharge stage if it hasn’t been done before; (2) how that applies in the case of Ramsar Sites (which are not subject to the Habitats Regulations directly, but are treated in the same way by the NPPF); and (3) whether the scope of any assessment is limited to matters which are affected by the particular conditions being discharged. The challenge was resisted by the Secretary of State, and by Somerset Council (which had succeeded before the inspector).

All three grounds of challenge were dismissed by Sir Ross Cranston, and all three are now being appealed.

Dr Ashley Bowes appears for the Claimant, led by Lord Banner KC of Keating Chambers.

Richard Moules KC and Nick Grant appear for the Secretary of State

Luke Wilcox appears for the Second Defendant, Somerset Council

Zack Simons and Isabella Buono act for the interveners, the Home Builders Federation and the Land, Planning and Development Federation, which have made written submissions

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