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Court of Appeal considers correct approach to calculating housing shortfall in planning appeals

DATE: 02 Aug 2018

In Hallam Land v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2018] EWCA Civ 1808, the Court of Appeal has explained the obligations on planning inspectors and the Secretary of State when determining planning appeals for housing development to calculate the extent of any shortfall in a local planning authority’s 5 year housing land supply. 

The key points are that: 

  1. When there is no 5 year housing land supply, the National Planning Policy Framework does not prescribe what weight should be given to development plan policies which are deemed “out-of-date”. That is a matter for the decision-maker’s planning judgment. 
  2. However, logically, the weight given to those policies should be less if the shortfall in the housing land supply is large, and more if it is small.
  3. A planning inspector or the Secretary of State is not always required to quantify the precise extent of the shortfall. 
  4. However, the balancing exercise described by Lord Carnwath in the Hopkins Homes case normally means the question for decision-makers is not just about whether a five-year supply of housing land exists but also, at least broadly, how large any shortfall is. 
  5. So in planning appeals for housing development, the decision-maker will normally have to identify at least the broad magnitude of any shortfall in housing land supply. 

The judgment is available here

Zack Simons acted for the Secretary of State.