Case details

Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority (Appellant) v Elsick Development Company Limited (Respondent) (Scotland)

Case ID: UKSC 2016/0157

Case summary

  1. The correct legal test for the validity of planning obligations;
  2. the extent to which planning authorities are obligated to comply with national policy when formulating their own supplementary guidance;
  3. the extent of the supervisory jurisdiction of the courts when considering challenges to planning policies.

The appellant, a strategic development planning authority for the Aberdeen region, adopted supplementary guidance under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, which provided for the creation of a strategic transport fund ("STF"). The idea was that all new developments within the appellant's area would make contributions to the STF, which would then be used to fund a number of strategic public transport "interventions" to relieve the anticipated pressure on public transport services and roads resulting from increased development. The respondent was obligated to contribute to the STF in accordance with the guidance under the terms of a s.75 agreement. The respondent argued that data published by the appellant showed that the impact of its development on many of the proposed interventions to be funded by the STF was either zero or de minimis. The supplementary guidance was therefore unlawful and contrary to national planning policy as it required the respondent to make contributions that would be used to support interventions unrelated to its particular development. The Inner House allowed the respondent's appeal and quashed the supplementary guidance.

Judgment appealed

[2016] CSIH 28



Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority


Elsick Development Company Limited



Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Reed, Lord Hodge

Hearing start date

13 Jun 2017

Hearing finish date

13 Jun 2017

Watch hearing
13 Jun 2017 Morning session Afternoon session