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Sunday20 August 2017

High Court rules NPPF trumps localism

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Landmark case sets legal precedent

The National Planning Policy Framework trumps the Localism Act and out-of-date or incomplete local development plans, the High Court has confirmed.

Legal experts say the case has set a precedent that NPPF-compliant developments have the weight of the law behind them where there is no local plan.

In the landmark case, Tewkesbury Borough Council v Communities secretary Eric Pickles and two developers, the court ruled against the council.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles

Source: Tim Ireland/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Conservative party chairman Eric Pickles arrives at Conservative Party HQ in Millbank Tower, London.

It had refused planning permission for 1,000 new homes on farmland in Gloucestershire, a decision overturned on appeal by Pickles.

The court found that the existing local plan was out of date and therefore carried little weight. It also found that an emerging joint core strategy between Tewkesbury, Gloucester and Cheltenham councils, was incapable of meeting the demand for housing over the next five years.

Tewkesbury argued the decision undermined the democratic process because it was for the council - on behalf of the community - to determine the provision of housing locally through a local development plan.

Karen Cooksley, partner and head of planning at law firm Winckworth Sherwood, said it was an important decision for developers and local authorities because it showed the government was serious about the presumption in favour of sustainable development.

“Local authorities have had years to prepare and adopt a local plan,” she said.

“Those that failed to do so knew that the guidance outlined in the NPPF would apply. The Localism Act has not brought about a fundamental change in the proper approach to planning applications.

“Developers can take some comfort that schemes brought forward will have the full weight of the law behind them if they meet the requirements of the NPPF and where local authorities have failed to put in place a local plan.”

 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Mike Duriez

    There won't be much green space left in the Tewkesbury Borough Council area soon.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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