Alternative School Site

March 7th, 2017 by James Goudie KC

In Lucas (on behalf of Save Diggle Action Group) v Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council (2017) EWHC 349 (Admin) the Council had been granted funding to redevelop a School, the existing buildings of which were in a poor state of repair.  The funding was from the Education Funding Authority (“the EFA”).  The EFA undertook a Feasibility Study (“the Study”).  The Study looked at various options for the redevelopment.  These included relocation at a new site.  The Study designated the new site as the best option.  This was because the new site offered the best value for money.

The Study confirmed, however, that if the Council chose to redevelop the School on its existing site, that would be funded by the EFA, despite being more expensive. Nonetheless the Council adopted the new site option.

The Council as Local Planning Authority did not take into account as a material planning consideration with respect to the new site that there was the option of redeveloping the school at its existing site. Kerr J held that it should have done so.  It was relevant to the proposed development for a number of reasons, not irrelevant as the LPA had believed.

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