On appeal from: [2016] EWCA Civ 168, [2015] EWHC 132 (Admin), [2015] EWHC 410 (Admin)


These appeals considered the meaning and effect of the National Planning Policy Framework, para 49. The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed both councils’ appeals. The Court made clear that the proper role of the courts is to interpret a policy or the National Planning Policy Framework where its meaning is contested, while that of the planning authority is to apply the policy or guidance to the facts of the individual case. The Court interpreted para 49 by first considering para 47, which provides that the objective is to boost the housing supply. Thus it considered that, in that context, the words “policies for the supply of housing” indicated the category of policies at issue: the word “for” simply indicating the purpose of the policies in question. The Court held there to be no justification for substituting the word “affecting” which has a different emphasis, and thus held that the important question was whether the result of the proposals was a five-year supply in accordance with the objectives set by para 47. As such the planning permission for the developments should have been granted.

For judgment, please download: [2017] UKSC 37
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII

To watch the hearing, please visit: Supreme Court Website (22 Feb 2017 morning session) (22 Feb 2017 afternoon session) (23 Feb 2017 morning session) (22 Feb 2017 afternoon session)