High Court hands down judgment on correct interpretation of East Devon DC Local Plan

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The High Court handed down judgment in Mills v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government [2019] EWHC 3476 (Admin), in which the High Court ruled on the correct interpretation of Policy E18 in the East Devon Local Plan, which concerns the loss of holiday accommodation. The policy states: E18 – Loss of Holiday Accommodation The proposals for change of use or redevelopment of hotels and other holiday accommodation in the seaside resorts of Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Seaton and Sidmouth will not be permitted unless the holiday use is no longer viable and/or the new use will overcome clear social, economic or environmental problems associated with the current use. Permission for change of use will not be permitted unless it can be clearly demonstrated that there is no longer a need for such uses and that the building or site has been marketed for at least 12 months (and up to two years depending on market conditions) at a realistic price without interest. The Claimant argued that this was restricted to the four mentioned towns, however an Inspector had considered when read alongside the supporting text the second paragraph of the policy applied more widely. Mr CMG Ockleton, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, ruled that the whole policy was restricted to those four named locations. However, in light of other planning matters which were considered in the Inspector’s decision, an error in the interpretation of Policy E18 made no material difference to the outcome. Richard Turney represented the Claimant. Leon Glenister represented the Secretary of State.

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