Shropshire Council in High Court Success
Mrs Justice Lang heard Shropshire Council’s challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision to approve planning permission at appeal for 68 dwellings in Ellesmere. The highly anticipated judgment was handed down on the 20th October 2016 and granted the Council’s application to quash the decision.
Shropshire Council had initially refused planning permission after concluding that the benefits of the development were demonstrably outweighed by the unacceptable harm to the open countryside and therefore contrary to the adopted development plan.
In allowing the appeal, the appeal inspector came to the conclusion that there was no current, available evidence in line with the requirements of the NPPF and the PPG that provided “any reliable support” to the housing requirement within the adopted Core Strategy. Subsequent to this, the inspector argued that the council did not have a Full Objectively Assessed Need (FOAN) and could not, therefore, reasonably demonstrate that they had a five-year housing land supply.
Further to this decision, Shropshire Council made an application to the High Court for the decision to be quashed, arguing that the inspector had adopted an incorrect approach to the application of Paragraphs 47 and 49 of the Framework, and had specific concerns relating to the conclusion that, as the council did not have an up-to-date FOAN or housing requirement, it could not demonstrate a five-year housing land supply.
The judgment restates the importance of providing detailed evidence relating to the FOAN for housing to be used in support of planning appeals where an appellant is arguing that the Local Planning Authority is unable to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply. The decision further clarifies that an appeal inspector is first required to make a judgment on the appropriate FOAN figure, based on the evidence before them, before coming to a view on the housing land supply position.