In this case, a challenge to the adoption of the Warrington Local Plan Core Strategy under section 113 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 succeeded, resulting in the quashing of the Plan’s housing provision policies, and its main housing allocation.
The challenge succeeded on two grounds. First, that the assessment of full, objectively assessed needs for housing had left out of account the (substantial) need for affordable housing. Second, that there had been “substantial non-compliance” with SEA requirements.
The judgment is, however, a curate’s egg. The Court did not accept the proposition that the statutory framework, together with policy and guidance, require a local plan to identify the housing needs of its area and plan for them. It is enough if it takes, in effect, the residue from a wider HMA requirement (even though that requirement was identified in the pre-NPPF era). The result, if correct, means that paragraphs 001-003 of the Local Plans section of PPG are wrong in law. It will also have wide ramifications for local plans generally. It is not thought that Warrington intend to appeal, so further exploration of these matters will have to await another day.
Counsel for Applicant – Christopher Lockhart-Mummery QC