Have a look at our May 2017 Special Bulletin.
Verdict on the Suffolk Coastal Saga
The Supreme Court have this morning handed down a much anticipated judgment, which considered the proper interpretation of paragraph 49 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), as well as the NPPF’s relationship with the statutory development plan.
Today’s judgment confirms the outcome of the Court of Appeal’s earlier ruling, upholding Richborough’s appeal decision granting permission for 146 homes in the green gap in Cheshire East and quashing the dismissal of Hopkins Homes’ appeal, which will now be redetermined.
However, the Supreme Court disagreed with Lord Justice Lindblom’s conclusions regarding NPPF paragraph 49, finding that the words “relevant polices for the supply of housing” should be given a ‘narrow’ meaning, i.e. those policies dealing only with the numbers and distribution of new housing.
The Court also reaffirmed that whilst planning guidance is subordinate to the statutory decision making tests, it is appropriate for the Secretary of State to give guidance on the weight decision makers should apply, for example, in circumstances where the planning system is failing to satisfy housing need.
In the context of the Richborough appeal, the Inspector reduced the weight to be given to other policies which would have restricted housing development, recognising that these were derived from settlement boundaries fixed against housing requirements which were out of date. The Court found this to be a lawful approach.
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