Newbury District Council v Secretary of State for the Environment: HL 1980

Issues arose as to a new planning permission for two existing hangars.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The question of the validity of conditions attached to planning permissions will sometimes be a difficult one. To be valid, a condition must be imposed for a planning purpose and not for an ulterior one; it must fairly and reasonably relate to the development permitted and must not be so unreasonable that no reasonable authority could have imposed it. Viscount Dilhorne summarised four conditions attached to planning permissions: ‘It follows that the conditions imposed must be for a planning purpose and not for any ulterior one, and that they must fairly and reasonably relate to the development permitted. Also they must not be so unreasonable that no reasonable planning authority could have imposed them.’ As to existing use rights: ‘If, however, the grant of planning permission, whether it be permission to build or for a change of use, is of such a character that the implementation of the permission leads to the creation of a new planning unit, then I think that it is right to say that existing use rights attaching to the former planning unit are extinguished.’
Lord Scarman said that estoppels bind individuals on the ground that it would unconscionable for them to deny what they have represented or agreed, ‘but these concepts of private law should not be extended into ‘the public law of planning control, which binds everyone.’
Lord Fraser: ‘The only circumstances in which existing use rights are lost by accepting and implementng a later planning permission are . . . When a new planning unit comes into existence. . .’
Lord Lane: ‘The holder of planning permission will not be allowed to rely on any existing use rights if the effect of the permission when acted on has been to bring one phase of the planning history of the site to an end and to start a new one.’ and ‘The change of use from repository to wholseale warehouse could not by any stretch of the imagination be said to have started a new plannning history or created a new planning unit. Indeed no one has so contended.’


Viscount Dilhorne, Lord Scarman, Lord Fraser, Lord Lane


[1981] AC 578, [1980] 1 All ER 731, [1980] 2 WLR 379


Planning BlawG


England and Wales


At first instanceNewbury District Council v Secretary of State for the Environment and others QBD 1977
The Council appealed against the quashing of its decision to impose certan conditions on a planning permission requiring the demolition of two hangars at the airfield subject of the application.
Held: The Council’s appeal failed.
Mr . .
Dictum ApprovedPyx Granite Co Ltd v Minister of Housing and Local Government CA 1958
Pyx Granite had the right to quarry in two areas of the Malvern Hills. The company required permission to break fresh surface on one of the sites.
Held: Conditions attached to the planning permission relating to such matters as the times when . .
Appeal fromNewbury District Council v Secretary of State for the Environment CA 14-Jul-1978
The Council had, when granting planning permission for the use of certain hangars on an airfield, required that on the end of the use, the hangars should be removed. That decision had been quashed by the repondent’s inspector, and again by the . .
ApprovedAston v Secretary of State for the Environment 9-Apr-1973
The court considered the planning effect of a new building on about a half of a site. Lord Widgery CJ: ‘. . The principle which one derives from the authorities and applies to the present case is that, where you have a new building erected, that . .
ApprovedStringer v Ministry of Housing and Local Government 1970
The material considerations to be allowed for by the local authority in exercising its planning functions are considerations of a planning nature, ‘all considerations relating to the use and development of land are considerations which may, in a . .

Cited by:

CitedRegina (Reprotech (Pebsham) Ltd) v East Sussex County Council Reprotech (Pebsham) Ltd v Same HL 28-Feb-2002
The respondent company had asserted that the local authority had made a determination of the issue of whether electricity could be generated on a waste treatment site without further planning permission. The council said that without a formal . .
ApprovedGrampian Regional Council v Secretary of State for Scotland HL 1983
The House endorsed the practice of imposing negative conditions in planning consents, upholding the validity of a condition that the development of the site could not commence until the road on the western boundary of the site had been closed by a . .
CitedWilliamson v Mid-Suffolk District Council LT 18-Jan-2006
LT COMPENSATION – planning permission – discontinuance order – preliminary issue – airfield – scope and effect of planning permissions granted under s73A of Town and Country Planning Act 1990 – whether conditions . .
CitedLand at 34 Manor Road, Pawlett, Bridgewater, Arlidge v Secretary of State for Environment and Sedgemoor District Council CA 9-Jun-1997
. .
CitedJ A Pye (Oxford) Ltd v South Gloucestershire District Council and Others CA 29-Mar-2001
Where there was an agreement between an applicant and the planning authority under section 106 of the new Act, with respect the undertaking of work in return for the grant of planning permission, there was no requirement for there to be a direct . .
CitedRegina (On the Application of Barker and Others) v Waverley Borough Council and Another CA 20-Apr-2001
A wartime aerodrome had continued to be used as such under a series of temporary permissions. The permission was continued after it was acquired by BAe, on conditions that use was personal to BAe and that it should revert to agricultural use after . .
CitedNourish v Adamson Admn 29-Jan-1998
. .
CitedRegina v Bristol City Council ex parte Anderson Admn 9-Mar-1998
. .
CitedAl Wood-Robinson v Secretary of State for Environment and Council of London Borough of Wandsworth Admn 3-Apr-1998
. .
MentionedRegina v Manchester Stipendiary Magistrate, ex parte Granada Television Limited Admn 16-Oct-1998
A Scottish search warrant was executable in England since it counted as a summary act under repealed legislation, though was also subject to the protection in England against searches of journalist’s materials. . .
CitedRegina v Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council ex parte Andrew Tew; George Daniel Milne; and Steven Garner Admn 7-May-1999
An outline application for a shopping development, gave no details of the expected floor area, and nor was there an environmental assessment.
Held: The failure to give the floor area was not critical, but even at this stage the ommission of . .
CitedTarmac Materials Ltd v Secretary of State for Environment Admn 6-Jul-1999
. .
CitedGosbee and Another, Regina (on the Application Of) v First Secretary of State and Another Admn 20-Mar-2003
A bungalow was not demolished as required by a condition when planning permission for a new dwelling was given. An enforcement notice was issued requiring the demolition of the bungalow.
Held: ‘in determining whether the interference is . .
CitedPioneer Aggregates (UK) Limited v Secretary of State for the Environment HL 1985
The House considered the concept of a spent planning consent.
Held: This was a mineral operation and every shovelful dug amounted to another act of development. Therefore, although it had been begun, the planning permission was not spent and . .
CitedRanson, Regina (on the Application Of) v Secretary of State and Forest Heath District Council Admn 27-Nov-2003
. .
CitedRegina v Westminster City Council, ex parte Monahan CA 1989
The Royal Opera House sought permission and listed building consents to carry out a re-development, extending and modernising the House raising it to international standards, and to develop the surrounding area consistently with that project. Parts . .
CitedJennings Motors Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment and another CA 27-Nov-1981
The land owners had demolished a building and erected a new building on a small part of the entire site, but without obtaining planning permission. The local authority argued that this was a change of use and a breach of planning control.
CitedTesco Stores Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment and Others HL 11-May-1995
Three companies had applied for permission to build retail food superstores in Witney. The Inspector had recommended Tesco’s proposal, but the respondent rejected it. Tesco’s had offered to provide by way of a section 106 agreement full funding for . .
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? . .
CitedRegina v Broadland District Council St Matthew Society Limited; Peddars Way Housing Association; ex parte Christopher Robert Dove Richard William Harpley; Colin Wright; Admn 26-Jan-1998
. .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Planning, Estoppel

Updated: 14 May 2022; Ref: scu.183155