EIA Parameter Plans interpreted in line with common sense

February 25, 2022

Megan Thomas QC acting for Canterbury City Council has successfully defended two judicial reviews brought by a wealthy environmental campaigner who sought to challenge the discharge of conditions on an outline planning permission for a strategic housing and commercial site, with views down to Canterbury Cathedral. She alleged that the Council had approved a masterplan which was not in accordance with a parameter plan showing Access and an Indicative Road Alignment. Redrow Homes Limited were the developers. Mr Justice Holgate interpreted the outline planning permission and its numerous conditions objectively, finding that the words “in accordance with” the parameter plan meant in harmony with it but they did not connote strict accordance with the plan, which was schematic and diagrammatic in nature.

The second claim was also dismissed. It alleged that the Council were wrong to allow “initial earthworks” approved under a future reserved matters application to be inserted into a number of the conditions because the term was too vague. However, the Court disagreed, finding that the Council had control over what initial earthworks might be allowed, as they had to be the subject of a reserved matters application.

The campaigner has 5 further judicial review claims on foot relating to the same site, which are currently stayed by the Court.

Today’s judgment is available here R (Camilla Swire) v Canterbury City Council and Redrow Homes Limited [2022] EWHC 390 (Admin)