Dunsfold Park and Waverley Local Plan challenges dismissed

The High Court (Nathalie Lieven QC, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) has today dismissed claims by CPRE Surrey and POWCampaign Limited to quash parts of the Waverley Borough Council Local Plan Part 1, including the allocation of land at Dunsfold Aerodrome for a new settlement. The Court also dismissed a parasitic challenge to the Secretary of State's decision to grant planning permission for 1,800 homes at Dunsfold, which followed a call-in Inquiry in 2017. The claims turned on the Local Plan Inspector's approach to unmet need in the housing market area and, specifically, whether Waverley should accommodate unmet housing need from Woking. The Deputy Judge found that there was no legal error in the setting of Waverley housing requirement. The Local Plan Inspector was in a difficult position in respect of Woking's unmet need, but he could not realistically determine a housing requirement for Woking and therefore was entitled to rely on the figure in the SHMA to identify the scale of the unmet need arising from that Borough. A reasons challenge also failed, with the Deputy Judge noting that requiring a Local Plan Inspector to set out the level of detail which is normally in a s. 78 appeal decision would be to impose an unreasonable and ultimately unnecessary burden. The challenge to the Secretary of State's decision to grant planning permission was parasitic on the Local Plan claim succeeding, and accordingly was also dismissed. David Elvin QC and Richard Turney acted for Dunsfold Airport Limited in the High Court proceedings, instructed by Mills & Reeve LLP. Christopher Katkowski QC led Richard Turney in the call-in Inquiry.

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