Dover District Council v CPRE Kent: SC 6 Dec 2017

‘When a local planning authority against the advice of its own professional advisers grants permission for a controversial development, what legal duty, if any, does it have to state the reasons for its decision, and in how much detail? Is such a duty to be found in statutory sources, European or domestic, or in the common law? And what are the legal consequences of a breach of the duty?’
Held: The appeal failed. ‘Oakley was rightly decided, and consistent with the general law as established by the House of Lords in Doody. Although planning law is a creature of statute, the proper interpretation of the statute is underpinned by general principles, properly referred to as derived from the common law. Doody itself involved such an application of the common law principle of ‘fairness’ in a statutory context, in which the giving of reasons was seen as essential to allow effective supervision by the courts. Fairness provided the link between the common law duty to give reasons for an administrative decision, and the right of the individual affected to bring proceedings to challenge the legality of that decision.’


Lady Hale, President, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lady Black, Lord Lloyd-Jones


[2017] UKSC 79, [2018] 2 All ER 121, [2017] WLR(D) 812, [2018] Env LR 17, [2018] JPL 653, [2018] 1 WLR 108, [2018] LLR 305, UKSC 2016/0188


Bailii, WLRD, Bailii Summary, SC, SC Summary, SC Video Summary, SC 2017 Oct 16 am Video, SC 2017 Oct 16 pm Video


Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004


England and Wales


At First InstanceCampaign To Protect Rural England (CPRE), Regina (on The Application of) v Dover District Council Admn 16-Dec-2015
The planning authority granted permission for a substantial development against the advice of its officers. Judicial review was now sought of the process.
Held: The request was refused. . .
CitedSave Britain’s Heritage v Number 1 Poultry Ltd HL 28-Feb-1991
An order allowing demolition of a listed building was possible even though the building itself remained viable. The function of the courts was to validate the decision making process, not the merits of the decision.
Lord Bridge analysed the . .
CitedClarke Homes Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment CA 1993
On a challenge as to the adequacy of the reasons given for a planning decision: ‘I hope I am not over-simplifying unduly by suggesting that the central issue in this case is whether the decision of the Secretary of State leaves room for genuine as . .
CitedWrexham County Borough Council v Berry; South Buckinghamshire District Council v Porter and another; Chichester District Council v Searle and others HL 22-May-2003
The appellants challenged the refusal to grant them injunctions to prevent Roma parking caravans on land they had purchased.
Held: Parliament had given to local authorities exclusive jurisdiction on matters of planning policy, but when an . .
CitedWall, Regina (on the Application of) v Brighton and Hove City Council Admn 2-Nov-2004
Application for judicial review, seeking an order quashing a grant of planning permission dated by the defendant for the demolition of an existing house and its replacement by eight self-contained apartments. The notice granting planning permission . .
CitedSuffolk Coastal District Council v Hopkins Homes Ltd and Another SC 10-May-2017
The Court was asked as to the proper interpretation of paragraph 49 of the National Planning Policy Framework: ‘Housing applications should be considered in the context of the presumption in favour of sustainable development. Relevant policies for . .
CitedMartin v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Admn 27-Nov-2015
There is an enforceable duty, said to arise ‘ . . either from the principles of procedural fairness . . or from the legitimate expectation generated by the Secretary of State’s long-established practice . . ‘ on decision makers to give a fully . .
CitedRe Poyser and Mills’ Arbitration 1963
The section at issue imposed a duty upon a tribunal to which the Act applies or any minister who makes a decision after the holding of a statutory inquiry to give reasons for their decision, if requested. A record of the reasons for a decision must . .
CitedWestminster City Council v Great Portland Estates plc HL 31-Oct-1984
The House was asked whether the 1971 Act permitted the relevant authorities, by resort to their development plans, to support the retention of traditional industries or was the ambit of the Act such as to permit only ‘land use’ aims to be pursued? . .
CitedSiraj, Regina (on The Application of) v Kirklees Metropolitan Council and Another CA 21-Oct-2010
A local planning authority’s summary reasons for granting permission do not present a full account of the local planning authority’s decision-making process. However, a fuller summary of the reasons for granting planning permission may well be . .
CitedHawksworth Securities Plc, Regina (on The Application of) v Ireef Queensgate Peterborough Propco Sarl and Others Admn 26-Jul-2016
Challenge to decision to allow redevelopment of part of shopping centre. Lang J made a general point about what she saw as the difference between a planning inspector conducting an ‘adversarial procedure, akin to court or tribunal proceedings’, . .
CitedRichardson and Orme v North Yorkshire County Council CA 19-Dec-2003
The claimants appealed against an order dismissing their application for a judicial review of the respondent’s grant of planning permission. They contended that a councillor with an interest in the matter had wrongfully not been excluded from the . .
CitedCherkley Campaign Ltd, Regina (on The Application of) v Mole Valley District Council and Another CA 7-May-2014
. .
CitedHopkins Homes Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Another Admn 30-Jan-2015
. .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Doody and Others HL 25-Jun-1993
A mandatory lifer is to be permitted to suggest the period of actual sentence to be served. The Home Secretary must give reasons for refusing a lifer’s release. What fairness requires in any particular case is ‘essentially an intuitive judgment’, . .
CitedRegina v Universities Funding Council ex parte Institute of Dental Surgery QBD 30-Jul-1993
When considering whether a disciplinary board should have given reasons, the court may find the absence critical ‘where the decision appears aberrant’. ‘the giving of reasons may among other things concentrate the decision-maker’s mind on the right . .
CitedRegina v Aylesbury Vale District Council and Another; Ex Parte Chaplin and Others CA 19-Aug-1997
A Local Authority need not give its reasons for granting a planning application, even where a previous and identical application had been refused. . .
CitedRegina v Mendip District Council ex parte Fabre 2000
The planning committee had accepted the officer’s recommendation: ‘ . . one is concerned with the members’ reasons not the planning officer’s, but where a planning officer makes a recommendation which is followed by the members, the reasonable . .
CitedBerkeley v Secretary of State For The Environment and Others HL 11-May-2000
The claimant challenged the grant of planning permission for a new football ground for Fulham Football club, saying that an Environmental Impact Assessment had not been obtained, but was required.
Held: Where a planning application if . .
CitedOakley v South Cambridgeshire District Council and Another CA 15-Feb-2017
Appeal against rejection of challenge to grant of permission for development of football ground.
Held: A common law duty on an authority to give reasons did arise in the particular circumstances of that case: where the development would have a . .
CitedCampaign To Protect Rural England, Kent (CPRE), Regina (on The Application of) v Dover District Council CA 14-Sep-2016
Appeal against grant of permission to bring judicial review of a planning decision.
Held: The appeal was allowed, and the permission quashed. Laws LJ pointed to three particular factors as calling for clear reasons: the ‘pressing nature’ of . .
CitedWalton v The Scottish Ministers SC 17-Oct-2012
The appellant, former chair of a road activist group, challenged certain roads orders saying that the respondent had not carried out the required environmental assessment. His claim was that the road had been adopted without the consultation . .
CitedSecretary of State for Education and Science v Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council HL 21-Oct-1976
An authority investigating an application for registration of rights of common over land has an implied duty to ‘take reasonable steps to acquaint (itself) with the relevant information.’ A mere factual mistake has become a ground of judicial . .
CitedKennedy v The Charity Commission SC 26-Mar-2014
The claimant journalist sought disclosure of papers acquired by the respondent in its conduct of enquiries into the charitable Mariam appeal. The Commission referred to an absolute exemption under section 32(2) of the 2000 Act, saying that the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Planning, Local Government

Updated: 27 November 2022; Ref: scu.599755