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Langton Homes Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2014] EWHC 487 (Admin)

DATE: 27 Feb 2014

A claimant developer was refused planning permission to build seven dwellings on the edge of a village in a designated conservation area. On the appeal of the first defendant the Secretary of State’s Inspector’s decision to uphold the refusal, the claimant submitted that the local council was adopting a more flexible approach to the “limits of development” approach, and that this would also be in accordance with the newly published government’s national planning policy framework which contained a presumption in favour of sustainable housing. In March 2013 the local authority had produced a “scoping consultation” which indicated that the local authority was consulting on whether it would  no longer be practical to use strict limits of development, and that a more flexible approach would be needed.

Foskett J held that the inspector was not bound to give significant weight to a potentially emerging policy, which was not yet in force. Furthermore, as she had referred to the scoping consultation in her decision, stating that she believed it too soon to consider it significant, the decision was correct. The consideration given to local authority statements of intent was a matter of planning judgment, and as such the court could not interfere unless her decision was plainly wrong.

Gregory Jones QC appeared for the Claimant

Sasha Blackmore appeared for the Secretary of State