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CPRE Kent legal victory saves priceless landscape at Dover

6 December 2017

Farthingloe Valley, Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Farthingloe Valley, Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

CPRE Kent today won a landmark victory at the Supreme Court, which overturned the decision by Dover District Council to grant planning permission for 521 houses and a retirement village in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Farthingloe.

The Supreme Court agreed with CPRE Kent’s arguments that the Planning Committee at Dover District Council did not give legally adequate reasons for granting the application, which they acknowledged would cause significant harm in a protected landscape.

Emma Marrington, CPRE Senior Rural Policy Campaigner, said:

“We welcome this landmark ruling. It sends a powerful message to councils about how they exercise their duty to protect our most cherished landscapes.

The Government have committed to ‘maintain national protection for AONBs for the benefit of future generations’. Earlier intervention by Ministers in this case to enforce the protection they insist planning policy provides for AONBs could have stopped this costly and time consuming battle. Our group of committed local campaigners now have the victory they deserve.”

 CPRE Kent Director Hilary Newport said:

“This is the best possible news – we have been absolutely determined to save this beautiful and iconic area of countryside. This level of harm to the AONB cannot be justified and the judges at the Court of Appeal last year, and now at the Supreme Court, agreed with us. This case is not just important to the people of Dover but for the principles of planning law; AONBs merit the highest possible level of protection.”

Overturning earlier review

In an earlier judicial review in December 2015, the judgement concluded that the application to build 521 houses and a 90-home retirement village at Farthingloe complied with national planning policy (paragraph 116 of the National Planning Policy framework (NPPF)). CPRE Kent considered that judgment to have been flawed and the verdict at the Court of Appeal and now at the Supreme Court vindicates this.

Protecting AONBs from further development

Last month, CPRE published a report Beauty betrayed: how reckless housing development threatens England’s AONBs which revealed that there has been an 82% increase in new housing units given planning permission in England’s 34 AONBs in the past five years.

Matt Thomson, CPRE’s Head of Planning said:

“We are in serious danger of losing much more AONB land to unnecessary housing development and seeing a significant part of these beautiful landscapes disappear from our lives.  CPRE calls on the Government to confirm unequivocally that large housing developments will rarely if ever be permitted in AONBs and National Parks, and take swift action through Ministerial call-in powers where councils fail in their duty to justify granting permission in any but the most exceptional circumstances.”


Notes To Editors

Please contact Faith Mall This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in the CPRE press office for more information on 020 7981 2819 or 077 3933 2796.


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