Rolling back from William Davis? A note on the significance of Dartford Borough Council v Secretary of State for DCLG

On 24 June 2014, Mrs Justice Patterson handed down judgment in the case of Dartford Borough Council. The case concerned a challenge under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for an order quashing the decision of planning inspector O’Rourke allowing an appeal by developers Landhold Capital and granting outline permission for up to 40 dwellings, together with public open space, access and landscaping at Greenhithe.

The challenge was brought by the council on a number of grounds, one of which centred on the approach of the inspector to ‘sustainable development’. The claimant argued that before deciding whether paragraph 14 of the framework was engaged, the inspector ought to have made a preliminary finding on sustainability. This argument relied heavily upon the judgment of Lang J in William Davis Ltd & Anor v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Governments [2013] EWHC 3058 (Admin)…

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