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Judges quash Farthingloe AONB permission

Words: Huw Morris
Farthingloe AONB

The Court of Appeal has quashed planning permission to build 521 homes and a retirement village in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) at Farthingloe in Kent.

Lord Justice Laws and Lord Justice Simon allowed the appeal against last December’s judicial review on the basis that Dover District Council’s planning committee failed to give “legally adequate reasons” for granting permission to developer China Gateway, contrary to an officers’ recommendation which had made “trenchant criticisms” of the density, layout and design of the proposed development.

Lord Justice Laws acknowledged that it was “an unusual case” and that “the scale of the proposed development is unprecedented in an AONB”. 

He said: “A local planning authority which is going to authorise a development which will inflict substantial harm on an AONB must surely give substantial reasons for doing so.”

The scheme was opposed by the Campaign for Rural England’s Kent branch. Its chairman Christine Drury said: “This case is not just important to the people of Dover, but for the principles of planning law because AONBs have the highest possible level of protection.”