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Case details

R (on the application of The Spitalfields Historic Building Trust) (Appellant) v London Borough of Tower Hamlets and another (Respondents)

Case ID: UKSC 2023/0121

Case summary


Is it lawful for a local authority's constitution to restrict voting by members on a deferred application for planning permission to those who had been present at the meeting(s) at which the application had previously been considered?


Old Truman Brewery Ltd., the second respondent, applied for planning permission to redevelop an old brewery in Spitalfields. The application came before the Development Committee of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Council (the "Council") at a meeting on 27 April 2021. Five members of the committee were present. The committee voted unanimously to defer consideration of the proposal. The committee next considered the planning application at its meeting on 14 September 2021.

By that point, the composition of the committee had changed since the 27 April 2021 meeting. The Council's standing orders provided that where a planning application is deferred and its consideration recommences at a subsequent meeting, only Members present at the previous meeting will be able to vote on the application. In accordance with that rule, it was announced at the beginning of the 14 September 2021 meeting that only councillors who were present at the meeting on 27 April 2021 could vote on the planning application. The committee resolved to grant planning permission by a vote of two to one. The appellant, The Spitalfields Historic Building Trust, applied for judicial review of the decision on the ground that it had been unlawful to exclude committee members from voting at the September meeting if they had not been present at the April meeting. The High Court refused the application. The appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal, which dismissed the appeal. The appellant now appeals to the Supreme Court.

Judgment appealed

[2023] EWCA Civ 917



The Spitalfields Historic Building Trust


London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Old Truman Brewery Ltd



Lord Reed, Lord Sales, Lord Hamblen, Lady Rose, Lord Richards

Hearing start date

25 July 2024

Hearing finish date

25 July 2024