On 23 November 2017, Gilbart J quashed Charnwood Borough Council’s new housing mix policy on the basis that it should have been adopted as part of a Development Plan Document (“DPD”), requiring independent examination by the Secretary of State, instead of a Supplementary Planning Document (“SPD”), which only requires consultation.
The policy prescribed the appropriate mix of home sizes in a housing development, with any departure from the specified percentages requiring justification through evidence taking into account a list of factors.
Gilbart J agreed with the group of claimants, all experienced house-builders operating within the Council’s area, that the policy constituted a statement regarding “the development and use of land which the local planning authority wish to encourage during any specified period”, and was also a “development management policy … intended to guide the determination of applications for planning permission.” Accordingly, by virtue of regulations 2, 5 and 6 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (“the 2012 Regulations”), the policy needed to be adopted in a DPD rather than an SPD.
The housing mix policy was also found to be unlawful due to a failure by the Council to undertake a viability assessment of the policy before the SPD was adopted.
The judgment is available here.
Gwion Lewis and Matthew Fraser acted for the successful claimants, William Davis Ltd, Bloor Homes Ltd, Jelson Homes Ltd, Davidsons Homes Ltd and Barwood Homes Ltd, instructed by Bird Wilford & Sale LLP.