Alison Ogley leads Supreme Court success for planning team

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06/02/2020

Walker Morris team successful in North Yorkshire County Council v Sam Smith Breweries

Representing Darrington Quarries Ltd, Alison Ogley appeared in the Supreme Court to defend a continued challenge to a planning permission, alongside North Yorkshire County Council, for the extension to the existing Jackdaw Cragg Quarry, which is located the Green Belt.

The case turned on the meaning of ‘openness’ in the Green Belt in the particular context of mineral extraction development, addressing the much debated relevance of ‘visual impact’ to the concept of ‘openness’ and the meaning of ‘not inappropriate development’ in the Green Belt.

The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision, delivered by Lord Carnwath. The Court once again affirmed the importance of avoiding excessive legalism in cases which at their core involve the exercise of planning judgment, and upheld the original decision of North Yorkshire County Council to grant permission for the development.

Following a series of hotly contested decisions in the lower Courts, the decision provides certainty and clarity for the development industry, confirming that there is no mandatory requirement to consider visual impacts as part of Green Belt openness is every case. The relevance or otherwise of the visual dimension of Green Belt openness will, quite properly, turn on the facts of each case.

The decision will come as a welcome relief to the minerals industry, ensuring that the underlying purpose of national planning policy for mineral extraction in the Green Belt is not fundamentally undermined.

The Walker Morris team was led by Alison Ogley (Partner) with Emma Conwell (Associate) and David Monteith (Associate) assisting.

Speaking on the case, Alison Ogley commented:

“We are delighted to have secured such a positive outcome for our client in this case, which follows almost four years of litigation through the Courts. The Supreme Court’s decision is critical for the future of mineral extraction development in the Green Belt, and will have significant implications for other developments proposed in the Green Belt due to the clear and compelling resolution of the relevance of the ‘visual dimension’ of Green Belt openness . It was a pleasure and a privilege to appear as a solicitor advocate in the Supreme Court; being instructed on a case of this magnitude, and securing a win for our client, is testament to the dedication and expertise of our team.”

The Walker Morris Planning Team has been awarded numerous accolades in recent years. This includes Tier 1 rankings for both Legal 500 and Chambers, a 7th place ranking in the ‘Highest Rated Planning Law Firms for 2018′ conducted by the national annual Planning Law survey and, finally, a ranking as a ‘National Leader outside London’ by Chambers.

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