An interesting development, post Election, in the High Court’s over-turning of an Appeal decision by the ex Secretary of State.
Whilst the matters involve Neighbourhood Plans, rather than Local Plans, it may follow that the principle of prematurity remains the same, with a little less weighting.
Given that Castle Point have struggled to evidence the existance of a 5 year hosing supply and the extended progress towards a Local Plan, the Castle Point Appeal season, due to begin in September could turn very nasty indeed!
High Court quashes residential permission: emerging neighbourhood plan given undue weight
In Woodcock Holdings Ltd. v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the SoS’ 4 September 2014 decision to dismiss an appeal for a 120 dwelling residential development on the edge of Sayers Common was quashed in the High Court. The appeal was dismissed by the former SoS Eric Pickles, against Inspector recommendation, due to conflict with the emerging Hurstpierpoint and Sayers Common Neighbourhood Plan (NP). The emerging Plan had yet to undergo Examination at the time of the SoS’ decision, yet the fact that the site was not allocated within the Plan attracted significant negative weight in the planning balance. Mr Justice Holgate quashed the decision, finding that the emerging NP was attributed undue weight in the decision-making process and that national policy and guidance on prematurity had not been followed correctly. Pickles pulls out of neighbourhood plan High Court proceedings Following the Woodcock decision, it emerged that former Communities Secretary Eric Pickles had already decided not to contest High Court challenges against his separate decisions to refuse 100 homes in Rolleston-on Dove, Staffordshire (on the basis that the proposals would ‘undermine’ an emerging NP), and 350 homes at Devizes (because Wiltshire Council’s lack of a five year housing land supply was outweighed by the proposals being in conflict with an emerging NP). Both proposals will now be re-determined by the new Communities Secretary, Greg Clark.
copy courtesy: Nathaniel Litchfield NLP