The interpretation of planning documents post Trump and Ashford
The interpretation of planning documents post Trump and Ashford

The following Planning guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The interpretation of planning documents post Trump and Ashford
  • Interpreting planning permission post Trump and Ashford
  • Interpretation of consultation documents produced in creating planning policy
  • Interpretation of article 4 directions
  • Interpretation of permitted development rights

Interpreting planning permission post Trump and Ashford

Interpreting planning permission by reference to application documents and extrinsic material

Legal principles

The legal principles applicable to construing a planning permission were summarised in Ashford BC ex parte Shepway DC and qualified in Barnett v SoS, as follows:

  1. the general rule is that in construing a planning permission which is clear, unambiguous and valid on its face, regard may only be had to the planning permission itself, including the conditions (if any) on it and the express reasons for those conditions (see Slough BC v SoS and Miller-Mead v MHLG)

  2. this rule excludes reference to the planning application as well as to other extrinsic evidence, unless the planning permission incorporates the application by reference. In that situation the application is treated as having become part of the permission. The reason for normally not having regard to the application is that the public should be able to rely on a document which is plain on its face without having to consider whether there is any discrepancy between the permission and the application (Slough BC v SoS; Wilson v West Sussex CC and Slough Estates v Slough BC).

    However, this particular principle was qualified in Barnett v SoS, where the Court of Appeal noted that Ashford BC ex parte Shepway DC concerned the interpretation