Neighbourhood Plan policy concerning rural exception sites

The Claimant, on behalf of himself & other local residents, challenged the decision by Northumberland County Council to grant planning permission for the development of a scheme comprising 20 x 100% affordable dwellings on the edge of North Sunderland. Permission was initially granted to claim JR on one ground, concerning the assessment of housing need. The Claimant renewed his application, however, and permission was granted on a further ground concerning the proper interpretation of the North Northumberland Coastal Neighbourhood Plan (NNCNP). This became the main ground, and the essential issue raised was whether NNCNP, read in accordance with Tesco Stores v. Dundee CC, constrained the scale of rural exception sites. The court (HHJ Mark Raeside QC sitting as a Judge of the High Court) held that it did not. The claim was therefore dismissed, and the Claimant ordered to pay the Defendant’s costs in the sum of £25,000. Simon Pickles advised and appeared on behalf or Northumberland County Council.

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