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CALA High Court Quashes RSS Revocation

Category: News 11 November 2010

As you will have noted from the (excited) reports in the Planning media the High Court has formally quashed the Coalition Governments action to revoke all Regional Strategies. But what, if any, difference will it make?

Whilst it may provide a window of opportunity for Cala to progress their Winchester Appeal the actual impact of the Judgment for the development industry remains unclear.

Certainly, the significance of the Judgment was immediately played down by Mr Pickles stating that it changes nothing, and it is evident the Coalition remains committed to dismantling the current top down planning system with the introduction of the Localism Bill later this month (no doubt to be progressed through Parliament expeditiously). Mr Pickles also stated that the advice in the letter sent to Chief Planners on 27 May 2010 still stands.

However, whilst the intention to abolish Regional Strategies should be treated as a material consideration in any planning negotiations it remains to be seen how Planning Inspectors will weigh the Government's stated intention against the (presumably overarching) High Court Judgment.

In that regard not everyone will have appreciated that re-instatement of the Regional Strategies not only brings the overall housing delivery targets back into play, but it also reinstates the regional affordable housing delivery targets. As is widely acknowledged, whilst these targets are only intended to provide a broad regional framework within which individual authorities should progress their own (evidentially sound) local policies, local planning authorities tend to apply them inflexibly as a minimum affordable housing requirement.

Therefore, whilst the situation remains confused there is now, more than ever, a need to carefully consider the approach being followed by local planning authorities - particularly with regard to the proportions of market demand versus affordable housing need within the context of viability evidence.

Pioneer Property Services Ltd is able to assist with this process and prepare Affordable Housing Statements, site specific Housing Market Assessments, viability modelling, and evidence for Planning Appeals. We would therefore be delighted to discuss with you how we can help to progress your schemes.

If, in the meanwhile, you need more detail please click HERE to read the High Court Judgment in full.

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