Supreme Court to decide in dispute between Snowdonia national park and housing developer
The Supreme Court will decide in a landmark case which has pitted Snowdonia National Park against a housing developer.
Hillside Parks Ltd is appealing to the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal decided in Snowdonia National Park’s favour in 2020.
The details of the case go all the way back to 1967 when then Merioneth County Council granted planning permission for the development of 401 houses on a site in Snowdonia National Park in Aberdyfi.
In 2019, Hillside Parks Ltd, which now owned the Site, brought a claim against the National Park Authority in order to ascertain whether the scheme of development authorised in 1967 could still lawfully be completed.
The National Park Authority successfully argued in the High Court and Court of Appeal that it could not, as permissions granted after 1967 were inconsistent with the original plan. In particular, roads had been built in areas designated for houses, and houses had been built in areas designated for roads.
The High Court and the Court of Appeal decided in the National Park Authority’s favour, but Hillside is now appealing to the Supreme Court in the hearing which is due to start next month, on July 4.
The case concerns a site comprising 28.89 acres of land at Balkan Hill, Aberdyfi, and will be heard by Lord Reed, Lord Briggs, Lord Sales, Lord Leggatt, Lady Rose.
Their judgement could have a far-reaching impact as it raises the issue of whether developers nullify the original planning permission if they make subsequent tweaks with other planning applications.
Cornerstone Barristers, a leading London chambers which specialises in planning and housing, told the Telegraph newspaper that the case raises “troubling questions” when dealing with developments involving hundreds of houses, such as “whether a relatively minor deviation in one house should render every other house unlawful”.
If the Supreme Court decides in the National Park Authority’s favour, it would set a legal precedent for other courts below the Supreme Court which would mean that developers who use additional planning applications could risk invalidating the original plan.
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