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Delivering a sufficient supply of homes



Crondall Parish Council [2019] EWHC 1211 (Admin), Dove J
David Elvin QC and Zack Simons appeared for the Secretary of State
Reuben Taylor QC appeared for the Second Defendant

“108. … [The Inspector] was entitled to conclude, as he did, that the policy objective of significantly boosting the supply of homes contained in paragraph 59 did not cease to apply when housing land supply in excess of five years could be established.”


Oxton Farm v Harrogate Borough Council [2020] EWCA Civ 805, Underhill LJ VPCA, Lewison LJ, Carr LJ

“42. Mr Wald’s argument entails the proposition that the ONS projections were the mandatory starting point for the calculation of objectively assessed housing need. But in my judgment that proposition is itself erroneous. Government policy states quite clearly (a) that the standard method is not mandatory; (b) that the purpose of the standard method is to determine the minimum starting point in deciding the number of homes needed in an area; and (c) that higher housing targets than those produced by the standard method will be considered sound. (I add that we were told by Mr Hunter that the position has now changed).”


Wainhomes (North-West) Limited [2020] EWHC 2294 (Admin), Dove J

“Whilst [Leading Counsel] is entitled to point to the wider national planning policy context of boosting significantly the supply of housing land, as Mr Cannock points out in his submissions, the use of the standard method to derive local housing need is part and parcel of the Framework’s policies to achieve that objective.” [43]




Tewkesbury BC [2019] EWHC 1775 (Admin), Dove J
Tim Buley QC appeared for the Secretary of State

“14. …Mr Tim Buley, on behalf of the Defendant, contends that, as the Inspector observed, the Framework and the PPG are completely silent on the issue of whether or not any oversupply should be taken into account when calculating the five year requirement.”

The Court found that it did not have jurisdiction to determine the matter.


Peel Investments (North) Limited [2020] JPL 279, Dove J
Christopher Katkowski QC and Matthew Fraser appeared for the Second Defendant

“81. … In my view the provisions both of the 2012 Framework (in paras 47 and 49) and, as set out above, in the 2018 Framework (in para.73), are clear. The requirement to demonstrate a deliverable five-year housing land supply is one which is purely quantitative. It involves a calculation of the deliverable number of units within the five-year time period, and nowhere in the text of the policy pertinent to how the five-year housing land supply is to be assessed is there any suggestion that the qualitative nature of that supply (including its mix of house type or tenure) has any part to play in determining whether there is a qualifying five-year housing land supply available to a local planning authority. That is not to say that that those qualitative issues are not relevant to the planning balance. As the Inspector observed at para.375 of his report, an identified deficiency in the qualitative mix of housing is a matter which is relevant to the exercise of the planning balance and may, as in the present case, give rise to significant weight being attributed to this issue in support of planning permission being granted.”


Eastleigh BC [2019] EWHC 1862 (Admin), Garnham J
Leon Glenister appeared for the Secretary of State
Christopher Boyle QC and Andrew Parkinson appeared for the Second and Third Defendant

“47.  It is common ground that where there is no 5YHLS, the NPPF, in both its 2012 and 2018 forms, deems such policies out of date. …

  1. However, as Mr Glenister put it, in the context of the NPPF, there is a ‘one-way consideration’ for 5YHLS. AS Mr Boyle submits, there is nothing in statute or policy which expressly or impliedly required the Inspector to take into account the existence of a 5YHLS when deciding the weight to be attached to countryside policies.  Accordingly, it was for the Inspector to determine the weight to be attached to the fact that there was more than 5YHLS, subject only to a Wednesbury challenge.
  2. In my judgment, a failure to give weight to the fact that the Council could demonstrate more than a 5YHLS in determining the weight which should be accorded to development plan policies was not irrational. When the Inspector came to consider the overall planning balance, at DL47, he did consider the weight to be attached to the provision of housing.  That was the proper place in the analysis for that consideration.  I see no basis for saying he should have increased the weight, prior to conducting the balancing exercise because of the absence of a negative, namely that there was no shortage of housing land.”


Oxton Farm v Harrogate Borough Council [2020] EWCA Civ 805, Underhill LJ VPCA, Lewison LJ, Carr LJ

At [54], applied the reasoning in Eastleigh Borough Council, and stated “Moreover, as I have said, questions of weight are for the decision-maker.”


Wainhomes (North-West) Limited [2020] EWHC 2294 (Admin), Dove J

The challenge raised the question of whether a review had been carried out for the purposes of fn 37 to the NPPF:

“It is clear that footnote 37, related as it is to paragraph 73 of the Framework, relates to strategic polices containing a housing requirement. In this case the strategic policy containing the housing requirement is Core Strategy Policy 4(a), and not the other elements of the policy which relate to additional ancillary matters. The apparent reliance on Core Strategy Policy 4 not having been reviewed as a whole is further complicated by Mr Fraser’s pertinent submission that in fact the MOU contained agreement not simply in relation to policy 4(a), but also in relation to those other ancillary matters. In short, it is difficult to understand, and the Inspector failed to explain, firstly, why the whole of Core Strategy Policy 4 had to be reviewed for the exercise to constitute a review for the purposes of footnote 37 and, secondly, why the MOU did not constitute that review of the whole policy bearing in mind the contents of the MOU.” [40]

“There may be many material changes in the planning circumstances of a local authority’s area which would properly render their existing plan policies out of date and in need of whole or partial review. I am unable to accept Mr Fraser’s submission that it is impermissible to regard the emergence of a local housing need figure which is greatly reduced from that in an extant development plan policy as having the potential to amount to a significant change.” [43]




City & Country Bramshill Ltd [2019] EWHC 3437 (Admin), Waksman J
Guy Williams and Alistair Mills appeared for the Secretary of State

“28.  It is submitted on behalf of C&C that if Dartford is right in this respect it must follow that there is a “PDL Exception”, as it were, to paragraph 79. As to this, first it is to be noted that Lewison LJ’s observation about paragraph 55 was strictly obiter because he had already said that whether there was a conflict or not would make no difference to his decision on the issue before him. Second, and as recognised by Lindblom LJ in Braintree, this was a brief observation about policy albeit he found it to be consistent with his own remarks. Thirdly insofar as he saw the actual decision in Dartford as consistent with his own approach, it could only be because of his view that it was an example of applying the “isolated from settlement” test. Given Lindblom LJ’s reference to a “cluster of buildings” being able to qualify as a settlement, it is possible to see the observations of Lewison LJ as being to the effect that in this case the farm should be regarded as an existing settlement. So the intended caravan site could not be regarded as remote from it. In my judgment, the endorsement of that approach by Lindblom LJ goes no further than that.

  1. As for the second qualification, I fail to see how the number of intended houses could itself remove the development from the ambit of paragraph 79. If so, one would have to ask what particular number was the threshold for such a departure: 5, 10, 20 or 100? Mr Strachan QC argued that if the number of houses was not relevant, then the establishment of a new town would violate paragraph 79. In my judgment, that is misconceived. If a new town was being planned (which by definition would involve not only the local planning authority but no doubt national bodies as well) entirely different considerations would apply which would be wholly outwith and outweigh the effect of any violation of paragraph 79. It is no basis on which to carve out a house-numerical exception to that paragraph in a case such as that before me.”


R (Wiltshire Council) [2020] EWHC 954 (Admin), Lieven J

“26.  … The issue is whether “dwelling” [in NPPF 79(d)] means a single residential building, or a wider residential unit that can include secondary buildings within the same plot. …

  1. I approach the meaning of dwelling by looking at the words themselves; the context in which they appear; and the overarching policy objective or “mischief”. The words “sub-division of an existing residential dwelling” tend in my view towards the dwelling being one physical building rather than a wider residential unit encompassing other buildings. Although it is always possible to posit clearer or different words that could have been used, if the Secretary of State had intended to encompass sub-division of the residential plot then it would have been more natural to use the words “the residential unit” or “the property”. To my mind, sub-division of a dwelling, implies a single building.

  1. Most importantly, in my view the context strongly militates towards a narrow interpretation. The sub-paragraphs in para 79 are exceptions to the general policy against creating new residential development in isolated rural locations. It is important to have in mind that the policy reason for not supporting new housing in such locations is that it would be fundamentally unsustainable, being poorly located for local services, and that sustainability lies at the heart of the NPPF. As such, it does in my view follow that the exceptions should be narrowly construed as being in general not supportive of sustainable development. The exceptions are all forms of development which could be said to enhance the countryside, whether by adding housing for rural workers, or reusing redundant buildings. As the letter from GLD dated 15 January 2020 states, para 79(d) makes sense in this context as allowing the sub-division of large properties into flats where that is a good use of the existing dwelling. To allow the sub-division of residential units by allowing separate buildings to become separate dwellings goes well beyond that limited exception.”


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