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Planning Update - the Court’s Role to Interpret Policy

Court interprets paragraph in NPPF regarding economic benefits of proposals in Bewley Homes PLC v Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities & Anor [2024].

Planning specialists, Chrisa Tsompani and Stephanie Hall explain:

This is a further example of the court’s role to interpret policy, with weight to be a matter for the decision-maker.

Bewley Homes filed a claim for a statutory review on grounds that the inspector had misinterpreted paragraph 81 of the NPPF 2021 (now paragraph 85 NPPF 2023) regarding the significance of economic benefits in planning decisions. Amongst other things, paragraph 81/85 states that “significant weight should be placed on the need to support economic growth and productivity, taking into account both local business needs and wider opportunities for development.” The Court held that the paragraph is part of a high-level policy document that does not mandate uniform or significant weight to be given to “any” economic benefit flowing from “any” development.

Read the full case report here.

Chrisa Tsompani is a Planning Partner at Davitt Jones Bould. She is highly experienced in complex planning and environmental issues, having advised on planning and highway agreements, Biodiversity Net Gain, development control, enforcement, planning policy, s106 and s111 agreements as well as compulsory purchase orders to name a few.   

Stephanie Hall (Partner)

Stephanie is a specialist Planning Solicitor. She has been ranked in the Legal 500 both in 2023 and 2024, with clients describing her as ‘’practical, commercially minded, approachable and clear in her advice’’. Whilst working at Manchester City Council, she was twice recognised as one of the top 10 local authority planning lawyers in Planning Magazine’s annual survey.



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