Housing Supply

December 17th, 2018 by James Goudie KC

In R (East Bergholt Parish Council) v Babergh District Council (2018) EWHC 3400 (Admin) the claimant Parish Council applied for judicial review of the defendant LPA’s decision to grant planning permission to build 229 new homes around its village. Sir Ross Cranston refused the application. He ruled that the LPA had been entitled to adopt a robust, risk-averse approach in calculating its five-year housing land supply. Housing sites would be considered “deliverable” if they were

currently available, offered a suitable location for current development, and were achievable in that there was a realistic prospect that housing would be delivered there within five years. Sites with outline planning permission, permission in principle, allocated in the development plan or identified on a brownfield register should only be considered deliverable where there was clear evidence that housing completions would begin on site within five years. Moreover, the Court would not generally interfere with a planning officer’s report on the basis of hypercritical scrutiny or a legalistic analysis. The Court would only interfere if there was a distinct and material defect in the officer’s advice set out in the report. That would arise where, on a fair reading of the report as a whole, the officer had materially misled planning committee members on a matter in a material way so that, but for the flawed advice, the Committee’s decision would or might have been different.

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