Although planning disputes continue to make the headlines, only 9 planning judicial reviews were decided by the Court of Session in 2021, which is roughly the annual average (Brodies 2018 report). The majority were about housing development. 

Successful challenges

Three legal challenges were successful, which is more than average:

  • Westend Residents CIC: planning permission granted by Dundee City Council for an e-bike docking station was declared ultra vires because the planning application did not include the required design statement.
  • Graham's the Family Dairy and others: amendments to Scottish Planning Policy relating to sustainable development and housing land supply were quashed, on grounds of procedural fairness of consultation.
  • Ogilvie Homes Ltd: the reporter's decision to refuse planning permission was quashed, because of misinterpretation of a development plan policy and failure to take account of previous planning decisions. However, a new reporter also refused to grant planning permission.

Legal issues

The cases involved a variety of issues:

  • Planning application requirements – design statement - Westend Residents CIC
  • Consultation process - Graham's
  • Use class 8 (residential institutions) and 9 (houses) - MacIntyre


The range of issues, and the success rate in the courts, shows that the complexities of planning law continue.  


Neil Collar