The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal submitted by Aberdeen City Council and the Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority recently. The court has found that the Statutory Guidance put in place by the Authority, that looks for contributions from developments towards a Strategic Transport Fund to be unlawful.
Elsick Development Company initially challenged the Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority Guidance on the grounds that the company felt that the Guidance breached established law and also failed to comply with the Scottish Government’s policy on planning obligations.
It has been found that the Guidance did not establish a direct relationship between the level of contribution that was sought and the impact that could be made on the development. The Elsick Development Company is a promoter of Chapelton, which is a new town with more than 4,000 homes in the middle of construction south of Aberdeen. The Supreme Court has ruled that the connections that have been made between specific developments, including Chapelton and the interventions that have been pooled as a part of the Strategic Transport Fund were “at best trivial”. Because of this, using the developer’s contribution towards infrastructure that the development has only a trivial connection to would be a breach of section 75 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.
This issue has been examined legally three times and each of these times, the courts have ruled in favour of Elsick Development Company. The appeals have been raised on a fundamental, long-standing aspect of planning law, with the whole series of events being a waste of time and money. It was raised a number of times during the Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority’s own consultation exercise that such a contribution would not work, and has now created a larger cost to the taxpayer by continuing without consideration.