The Parish Council has requested permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. These are their submissions:
1. The Parish Council requests permission to appeal on the issue whether the Council’s treatment of the Neighbourhood Plan involved the interpretation or (as the Court of Appeal found) application of Policy 1 in the Neighbourhood Plan. This involves an arguable point of law on an issue of public importance.
2. The Parish Council submits that the judge below (a specialist planning judge) was correct to state that the question he had to address was whether the Bloor proposals were in accordance with Policy 1 of the Neighbourhood Plan. This was correct because all parties agreed that Policy 1 was at the heart of the case. This in turn was because of the principle in Tesco v. SSE  1 WLR 759 at 780 that relevant policies of the development plan have to have been properly understood in the making of the decision before they fall to be applied, which aspect is a matter for the decision-maker, subject to Wednesbury.
3. This principle is in the same vein as that stated in Canterbury City Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWCA Civ 669 at : “If the section 38(6) duty is to be performed properly, the decision-maker must identify and understand the relevant policies, and must establish whether or not the proposal accords with the plan, read as a whole. A failure to comprehend the relevant policies is liable to be fatal to the decision…”
4. Compare R (Mansell) v Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council  EWCA Civ 1314, at para. 42(2): “if the advice in the officer’s report is such as to misdirect the members in a material way – so that, but for the flawed advice it was given, the committee’s decision would or might have been different … the court will be able to conclude that the decision itself was rendered unlawful by that advice.”
5. Here, on the literal wording of Policy 1 (“new development… shall be focused within the settlement boundary”) any development outside the boundary was contrary to it as being outside the “barrier” established by it.
6. This construction of the policy is reinforced by the context in which it was framed, see para. 4.5 of its supporting text: “the general approach in the Thurston Neighbourhood Plan is that growth will be focused on the sites with planning permission (which are located within the amended settlement boundary) and on small scale infill sites within the settlement boundary”.
7. It also accords with how it was understood by the Parish Council in their representations on the draft Local Plan: “7. The Parish Council challenges the premise that the former three sites should be considered as Allocations when they are located outside of the settlement boundary of the Thurston NDP, as approved at referendum” – and the Council itself, see at [SB15/196].
8. On the other hand, any so-called “tension” with the “direction of travel” in the non-statutory still only slowly emerging, not yet thoroughly examined draft Joint Local Plan, was expressly to be addressed when the Neighbourhood Plan is "reviewed".
9. In these circumstances, the Court of Appeal’s decision (eg para. 54: “the word “focused” does not mean that there can never be any development of a general kind outside a settlement boundary” and para. 59: “the Committee were reminded… that the proposed development was in the “countryside” and therefore was contrary to [expressly found to be “out of date”] Development Plan policies”) sits ill with the principles in the above authorities and this raises an arguable point of law.
10. As for public importance, this is self-evident, see the numerous statements of Government policy to the effect that “Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. They are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built…”
11. The Parish Council heeded the advice to plan for their own neighbourhood. They succeeded in defending the strategy in their Neighbourhood Plan before a specialist planning judge and thereby in resisting significant substantial and unwanted development in conflict with it. The consequence of now allowing Bloor’s permission to stand would be that the strategy in the Parish Council’s Neighbourhood Plan would be undermined and planning permission would be granted in conflict with it before the Parish Council has the opportunity of testing the Bloor allocation in the yet to be resumed examination of the draft Local Plan.
12. Therefore the Parish Council seeks permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.