The 1998 Castle Point Borough Council Local Plan contained seven Green Belt policies, GB1-GB7. However, GB1 was not saved when the Secretary of State made a saving direction under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. Fox Land & Property Ltd (“Fox”) applied for planning permission for up to 165 dwellings on land in Thundersley. The Council refused the application, and Fox appealed to the Secretary of State. Part of its argument before the Inspector was that, because GB1 was not saved, there was no longer a Green Belt in Castle Point. The Inspector rejected that argument, although he did recommend that planning permission be granted. The Secretary of State likewise rejected the Green Belt argument, but he decided that planning permission should be refused. Fox challenged that decision under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. On 17 January 2014, Blake J dismissed the application ( EWHC 15 (Admin)). He too concluded that there is still a Green Belt in Castle Point, by virtue of the saved policies GB2-GB7 and the Proposals Map. Today, the Court of Appeal held that Blake J was correct. So ends an issue going back to the terms of the saving direction in 2007.
The result, no doubt to the relief of the Council and many others, is that there is still a Green Belt in Castle Point.
Stephen Whale of Landmark Chambers successfully represented the Secretary of State in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal.