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R (Larkfleet Homes Ltd) v Rutland County Council [2014] J.P.L. 697

DATE: 08 Dec 2014

This was a judicial review challenge to the Uppingham Neighbourhood Plan (“UNP”). The Claimant contended that the UNP exceeded the statutory powers of a neighbourhood development plan since it contained site specific allocation policies, whereas Regulation 5(2)(b) of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012, passed under s.17(7)(za) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, provides that “any document which includes a site allocation policy” should be a local development document prepared by the local planning authority for the area. Collins J. rejected that argument, holding that regulation 5(2)(b) and s.17(7)(za) were – despite their broad terms – properly to be interpreted as applying only to local planning authority planning documents. 

Collins J also rejected a challenge to the decision to ‘screen out’ the need for strategic environmental assessment of the UNP pursuant to the SEA Directive 2001/42/EC. He held that whilst a screening decision was required to have regard to the potential for positive (and not just negative) environmental effects, and whilst the screening document in the present case referred only to negative effects, it could nonetheless reasonably be assumed that the decision-maker was familiar with the correct approach. 

Permission to appeal is being sought. 

Charles Banner and Heather Sargent appeared for the claimants, instructed by Marrons Shakespeares LLP.