A recent Court of Appeal decision considered Watermead Parish Council’s request to judicially review Aylesbury Vale’s granting of planning permission for a crematorium on previously developed land in Flood Risk Zone 1.
The Court of Appeal found that the case officer’s report had made an error of law in not applying the Sequential Test as, “the proposal relates to an already developed site, and therefore a sequential assessment is unnecessary.” Lords Justice Patten and Lindblom subsequently quashed the decision.
The Court of Appeal said that the sequential test: “involves an assessment of the availability of “sites appropriate for the proposed development in areas with a lower probability of flooding”. It is required not only for “new development” proposed on sites which have not previously been developed but also for “new development” on land that is already developed.”
The officer’s advice that previously developed land was exempt from a sequential test under the NPPF was a misinterpretation of policy. Departure from the sequential assessment can only be made for good reason, which was not the case here, but rather based on a mistake, which made a substantive difference to the outcome of the application. Accordingly the permission was quashed.