Taylor Wimpey wins High Court planning battle

Out-Law News | 27 Oct 2011 | 3:27 pm | 1 min. read

Developer Taylor Wimpey has won a High Court planning case against the Secretary of State to build more homes on its greenbelt development in Surrey.

The High Court ruled that the planning inspector involved in the case had failed to view amendments to the scheme as part of the whole scheme and therefore didn't take account of a material consideration.

Taylor Wimpey was originally granted outline permission to build a residential development on greenbelt land because the planning inspector said that the site was "an exception to the normal policy against new buildings in the greenbelt".

However, when Taylor Wimpey submitted an application to amend the original scheme to include more housing units, the council refused the application and said that the amended housing provision did not outweigh the harm to the greenbelt.

Taylor Wimpey appealed the refusal on the ground that the council was wrong to consider the additional housing in isolation of the original application, thereby failing to take account of the "very special circumstances" that were found in the original application.

Wimpey contended that that the amendments were purely beneficial in making more efficient use of the site.

The judge held that the council had failed to view the additional housing as an amendment "of a development in the course of construction that had been permitted because of very special circumstances".

The council had therefore "failed to take account of a material consideration", which would have resulted in a different decision. In addition, the judge found that the amendment "improved the approved development without providing additional harm".

The council's decision to refuse permission for the amendment was quashed.