Challenge to the Scottish Ministers approval of the Fife Structure Plan
21 September 2011
Uprichard v Scottish Ministers and Fife Council  CSIH 59
This is a recent decision of the Second Division in the area of planning law. The challenge was to the decision of the Scottish Ministers to approve the Fife Structure Plan (which had been very many years in evolution). The complaint was essentially, as is so often argued in planning decisions, that the reasons were inadequate. In a succinct judgement, the Lord Justice Clerk reminds us that it is important when assessing the adequacy of reasons to consider the background and context to a decision, and to read the decision as a whole. The reasons challenge failed.
The decision is also of some interest for the brief obiter remarks about whether section 238(2)(b) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 enables the Court to quash one part of the Development Plan, leaving the remainder intact. In the Outer House decision in Hallam Land Management v City of Edinburgh Council  CSOH 75, Lord Malcolm has suggested that this is possible. If that is so, the Lord Justice Clerk has said that a "part quashing" will only be possible in the most exceptional cases.
Ruth Crawford QC and Alastair Duncan appeared for the Scottish Ministers.
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