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Supreme Court to rule on National Planning Policy Framework and preserving openness of the Green Belt

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The Supreme Court will next week hand down its ruling on whether a county council misapplied a key provision in the National Planning Policy Framework on the preservation of “the openness of the Green Belt”.

In R (on the application of Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) and others) (Respondents) v North Yorkshire County Council (Appellant) UKSC 2018/0077
the appellant council granted planning permission for the extension of a mineral extraction site which is situated in the Green Belt.

One of the council’s planning officers had recommended that planning permission should be granted.

The respondents issued proceedings in the High Court, seeking judicial review of the decision to grant planning permission. They argued that the council had misapplied the policy framework, and in particular paragraph 90, when making its decision.

In the Planning Court in March 2017 Mr Justice Hickinbottom (as he then was) disagreed and dismissed their claim.

The respondents appealed to the Court of Appeal, which in Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) Oxton Farm v North Yorkshire County Council & Anor [2018] EWCA Civ 489 allowed their appeal and quashed the decision to grant planning permission.

The issue before the Supreme Court was therefore whether the appellant council misapplied paragraph 90 of the NPPF when considering mineral extraction in the Green Belt.

The case was heard on 3 December by a panel comprising Lady Hale, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hodge, Lord Kitchin and Lord Sales.

Judgment will be handed down on 5 February.