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Burges Salmon advises Gladman Developments in landmark Scottish planning case

Posted: 5th June 2020

The firm’s Scottish Planning team has acted for Gladman in its successful appeal to the Court of Session.

On Wednesday 3 June, the Court of Session handed down a landmark judgment in the case of Gladman Developments Limited v Scottish Ministers in which it upheld the use of the ‘tilted balance’ in cases where there is a shortfall in the housing land supply.

Gladman – one of the largest strategic land promoters in the UK – appealed against the Reporter’s dismissal of their planning appeal for a residential development at Kilmacolm, Inverclyde.

Burges Salmon’s Scottish Planning and Compulsory Purchase team, led by partner Craig Whelton with support from associate Lynsey Reid, acted for Gladman. James Findlay QC and Alasdair Burnet, both of Terra Firma Chambers, appeared in one of the first virtual hearings before the Court of Session. The decision is set to have significant ramifications for planning in Scotland.

In 2014, Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) introduced a presumption in favour of development which contributes towards sustainable development and is a significant consideration when a local authority has a shortfall in its five-year effective housing land supply. SPP is similar to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in England, where it is recognised that a shortage in housing land results in a ‘tilted balance’ in favour of the grant of planning permission. There has been increasing debate around whether a ‘tilted balance’ applies in similar cases in Scotland.

On the decision, Craig commented: “We’re pleased to have supported Gladman with its successful appeal in this landmark case. The Court’s judgement, and quashing of the appeal, should put planning decision-makers on notice as to the weight to be attached to SPP, and the proper application of the Presumption and the tilted balance.”

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