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13/12/2018

High Court rejects Suffolk parish council bid to block housing scheme

Words: Huw Morris
New homes / iStock: 181857721

A parish council’s High Court challenge to the granting of planning permission for 229 homes has been dismissed after a judge ruled that it was not unlawful for a local authority to consider potential legal action from developers.

East Bergholt Parish Council had challenged decisions by Babergh District Council to allow three applications for the homes.

The applications were not in accordance with the local development plan but were granted because Babergh could not demonstrate a five-year housing land supply under the National Planning Policy Framework.

East Bergholt claimed that the district council had not lawfully exercised its discretion when assessing deliverability in the context of a five-year land supply, arguing that the officer’s report did not tell councillors that an error in the calculation of the land supply was not corrected.

In his ruling, Sir Ross Cranston said there was “nothing untoward” in the officer’s report. He also cited the judgment in St Modwen Developments v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, which did not mean Babergh was wrong to take into account that the developers might launch legal challenges against the council.

“It is not unlawful for a local planning authority to want to have confidence that it will be able to robustly defend the judgments it forms on the deliverability of housing sites,” he said. “For that reason the concern about challenges from developers was lawfully taken into account as a factor in decision-making.”

Image credit | iStock  

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