In Peel Investments (North) Ltd v SSHCLG & Salford City Council  EWHC 2143 (Admin), handed down on 2 August 2019, Dove J dismissed a wide-ranging challenge under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
The claim was brought against the decision of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to dismiss two recovered appeals by Peel Investments (North) Ltd against the refusal of planning permission by Salford City Council for the construction of 600 and 165 homes respectively on land in West Salford known as the Worsley Greenway.
The Worsley Greenway is protected by saved policies in the Council’s Unitary Development Plan.
The 600-home appeal had previously been dismissed by the Secretary of State in March 2016, but this decision was quashed by consent in the High Court in July 2016. A second inquiry, to hear the 600-home appeal alongside the 165-home appeal, was conducted in February – March 2018. The decision under challenge was made in November 2018.
At the inquiry, the Appellant had sought to argue that the Council could not demonstrate a five-year housing land supply because it could not secure enough affordable homes, enough houses (rather than flats), and enough “aspirational” (large) homes. The Secretary of State agreed with the Council that these issues – while material in the planning balance – are irrelevant when deciding whether there is a five-year housing land supply. The Secretary of State accordingly found a supply of over 13 years.
The Secretary of State concluded that the appeal schemes were both contrary to the development plan, primarily due to the substantial harm that would be inflicted on the Worsley Greenway, and that no material considerations would justify a departure from the development plan.
The section 288 challenge was brought on 12 grounds, five of which were granted permission on the papers. For five of the remaining grounds, the application for permission was renewed. Dove J dismissed the claim on all grounds, finding nothing unlawful in the decision of the Secretary of State or the Inspector’s report.
The judgment is available here.