Hillside Parks Restricted v Snowdonia Nationwide Park Authority – UKSCBlog

On this put up, Sam Porter, an Affiliate within the Planning staff at CMS, previews the upcoming Supreme Court docket determination within the case of Hillside Parks Restricted v Snowdonia Nationwide Park Authority UKSC 2020/0211. The case was heard on 4 July 2022.


Hillside Parks Restricted (“HPL”) is the proprietor of an roughly 30-acre web site in Aberdyfi, Snowdonia, which it acquired within the late Eighties. In 1967, planning permission was granted for a big housing growth on the positioning (“1967 Permission“). The accredited plan (“Authentic Grasp Plan”) recognized the proposed location of the buildings and roads which comprise the event.

From 1967 to 1974, eight additional planning permissions had been granted which permitted the event to be constructed in a fashion that differed from the Authentic Grasp Plan. A few of these permissions had been carried out.

Excessive Court docket proceedings had been first introduced in 1985. At this level, a small variety of buildings had been constructed, all of them pursuant to the permissions granted after the 1967 Permission, relatively than below the 1967 Permission itself. The landowner sought declarations relating to the standing of the 1967 Permission (and specifically whether or not it had lapsed). In his judgment, Drake J granted 4 declarations, the third of which is most related. In abstract, this declaration was that the event pursuant to the 1967 Permission had commenced and might be legally accomplished at any time sooner or later (the “Third Declaration“).

Following the 1987 judgment, Snowdonia Nationwide Park Authority (“Snowdonia”) turned the native planning authority for the positioning. A collection of additional planning permissions had been granted by Snowdonia within the interval from 1996 to 2011 which permitted further adjustments from the Authentic Grasp Plan. From 1987 onwards, the developments carried out on the web site had been all pursuant to the permissions granted following the 1967 Permission.

In 2017, Snowdonia knowledgeable HPL that it was thought-about that it was now not attainable to implement the 1967 Permission. This was on the idea that it was now not bodily attainable to construct the event in a fashion which was per the Authentic Grasp Plan.

Procedural Historical past

The current proceedings started as a declare below Half 8 of the Civil Process Guidelines. HPL sought declarations that:

1. Snowdonia was sure by the judgment and declarations of Drake J;

2. the 1967 Permission is legitimate and extant; and

3. the event could also be carried out below the 1967 Permission till completion, besides to the extent that any growth has been carried out or is carried out pursuant to subsequent planning permissions.

In Hillside Parks Restricted v Snowdonia Nationwide Park Authority [2019] EWHC 2587 (QB), HHJ Keyser QC thought-about that there have been two points. First, whether or not Drake J’s Third Declaration was incorrect in regulation, and remained secondly, whether or not Snowdonia sure by the Third Declaration.

In respect of the primary difficulty, the choose discovered no error in regulation. He thought-about that future growth carried out below the 1967 Permission may now not be lawful as the event carried out pursuant to the permissions granted since 1967 now made it bodily not possible to develop the positioning in accordance with the Authentic Grasp Plan. Particularly, a few of the properties will not be constructed within the place proven on the Authentic Grasp Plan and, certainly, are in some instances positioned the place the Authentic Grasp Plan stipulated that roads and footpaths must be constructed. Subsequently, growth which had occurred since 1987 meant that Snowdonia may now not be sure by the Third Declaration.

The case was appealed to the Court docket of Attraction, the place Singh LJ gave the main judgment. Singh LJ discovered that the Excessive Court docket choose had been entitled to succeed in the view that it was now not bodily attainable to implement the 1967 Permission.

HPL additionally argued that the choose had been incorrect to rule that F. Lucas & Sons Ltd v Dorking and Horley Rural District Council (1966) 17 P & CR 111 didn’t apply. The Lucas judgment signifies that planning permissions might, in some circumstances, be construed as authorizing a collection of impartial acts. Following this strategy, though it could be bodily not possible to hold out the event permitted by the unique permission on a part of a web site, this could not render it illegal to hold out impartial acts of growth below that permission elsewhere on the positioning. The Court docket of Attraction mentioned that Hillside was not a Lucas case and noticed that Lucas was “a extremely distinctive case”.

HPL additionally contended that the proceedings represented an abuse of course of. The doctrine of abuse of course of requires that when a problem has been totally and eventually determined by the courts, the events can’t usually elevate subsequent authorized arguments which may have been raised within the preliminary proceedings. HPL argued that it was an abuse of course of for Snowdonia to make arguments primarily based on Pilkington v Secretary of State for the Surroundings [1973] 1 WLR 1527 (which pertains to the incompatibility of planning permissions) when that case had been determined in 1973 and but had not been raised by Snowdonia’s predecessor in title within the Excessive Court docket proceedings within the Eighties.

In contemplating whether or not an abuse of course of had occurred, Singh LJ defined {that a} “merits-based evaluation” of all of the details was required, together with each the private and non-private pursuits affected. In addition to HPL’s industrial pursuits, there have been additionally “necessary public pursuits at stake”, together with stopping inappropriate growth in a Nationwide Park. Singh LJ thought-about it related that Snowdonia had apparently, for a while previous to 2017, maintained that the 1967 Permission might be carried out on areas of the positioning which had not been developed pursuant to subsequent permissions; however this issue was not conclusive. The factual and authorized developments since 1987 meant that Snowdonia’s arguments weren’t an abuse of course of. Notably, the Court docket of Attraction said that subsequent case regulation, together with Sage v Secretary of State for the Surroundings [2003] UKHL 22, has positioned better emphasis on the necessity to view planning permissions as a complete relatively than as consent for delineable acts of growth.

Points on Attraction

There are two predominant points earlier than the Supreme Court docket:

(1) Can the court docket to bear in mind the general public curiosity in not allowing inappropriate growth in a Nationwide Park, when deciding whether or not it will be an abuse of course of for a celebration to make an argument which it didn’t make in earlier authorized proceedings?

(2) The place there are successive planning permissions regarding the identical web site, and the later permissions are for adjustments to 1 a part of a wider growth accredited below the unique planning permission, does the implementation of the later permission(s) render the unique permission utterly unimplementable? Or, within the various, may growth pursuant to the unique permission nonetheless be carried out in areas of the positioning which haven’t been developed below the later permission(s)?

The Supreme Court docket thought-about these points throughout a one-day listening to on 4 July 2022.


The Supreme Court docket’s judgment will verify whether or not it’s authorized to proceed growth below an earlier permission as soon as there was a “drop-in” or “slot-in” planning permission overlaying a part of a scheme approved by the sooner consent. Drop-in permissions are fairly widespread and have typically been utilized by builders to alter discrete components of a growth. Subsequently, this judgment is important and will likely be of nice curiosity to builders and people with an curiosity in websites constructed below a drop-in permission. The Court docket of Attraction declined to specific a view on whether or not the implementation of drop-in permissions would render growth already carried out below the unique permission illegal. It will likely be fascinating to see how the Supreme Court docket approaches this complexity. As well as, will probably be fascinating to see if the Supreme Court docket differentiates between the place the place there may be an overview or an in depth planning permission.

The Supreme Court docket can even have the chance to offer additional steerage on the doctrine of abuse of course of and which elements could also be taken under consideration when the problem of abuse is taken into account. This can have ramifications for civil litigation extra broadly.

Scroll to Top