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Case details

DB Symmetry Ltd and another (Respondents) v Swindon Borough Council (Appellant)

Case ID: 2020/0202

Case summary


(i) Whether the principle enunciated by the Court of Appeal in Hall & Co Ltd v Shoreham by Sea Urban DC [1964] 1 WLR 240, that a planning condition could not lawfully require the developer to dedicate land for public purposes without the payment of compensation, is correct in law.
Proper interpreted in light of the answer to the first issue, what is the legal effect of the relevant planning condition.
(ii) Properly interpreted in light of the answer to the first issue, what is the legal effect of the relevant planning condition.


This appeal concerns the meaning of a condition that was attached to the grant of planning permission for a development site in the outskirts of Swindon. The proposed development included two roads, a "North-South access road" which ran southward from a new junction with the A420 and continued to the southern boundary of the site, and an "East-West spine road" which ran to the eastern boundary of the site from a roundabout on the North-South access road. Swindon Borough Council’s planning committee granted outline planning permission for the site subject to a number of conditions, one of which provided that:

"The proposed access roads, including turning spaces and all other areas that serve a necessary highway purpose, shall be constructed in such a matter as to ensure that each unit is served by fully functional highway, the hard surfaces of which are constructed to at least basecourse level prior to occupation and bringing into use. Reason: to ensure that the development is served by an adequate means of access to the public highway in the interests of highway safety."

The developer subsequently applied for a certificate under section 192 of the Town and County Planning Act 1990 to confirm that the formation and use of private access roads within the development would be lawful. Swindon refused to issue the certificate. The Secretary of State’s Planning Inspector allowed the developer’s appeal against Swindon’s refusal of the certificate. The High Court allowed Swindon’s application for a statutory review of the Inspector’s decision. The developer then successfully appealed the judgment to the Court of Appeal. Swindon now seeks permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Judgment appealed

[2020] EWCA Civ 1331



Swindon Borough Council


DB Symmetry Ltd and another



Lord Reed, Lord Hodge, Lord Kitchin, Lord Sales, Lady Rose

Hearing start date

12 July 2022

Hearing finish date

12 July 2022

Watch hearing
12 July 2022 Morning session Afternoon session

Future Judgment Update

Please note that appeal in the matter of DB Symmetry Ltd and another (Respondents) v Swindon Borough Council (Appellant) has been heard by the Supreme Court and is currently awaiting judgment.

As soon as the judgment hand-down date is confirmed, it will be published on the Future judgments page of this website. As a very broad indication, judgments tend to follow between three to nine months after the conclusion of the appeal hearing, although in some cases it may be earlier than that. Information about judgment hand-downs is usually announced one week in advance. We are unable to give any indication of the likely hand-down date for judgments not listed on the Future judgments page.