A High Court judicial review case concerning plans to build 116 homes and a care home in green belt near St Albans raises a number of matters that local authorities need to be aware of, according to POS.
The case came down to rival annual housing need figures and the judge backed the developer (rather than the council and inspector).
POS has identified four key matters of interest to local authorities:
- The challenges facing decision-makers in terms of the policy vacuum that exists in a number of areas between the revocation of RSSs and the adoption of local plans.
- The need to consider how to approach setting interim housing figures against which to assess planning applications in the absence of an up-to-date plan, taking into account paragraph 47 of the NPPF.
- The role of the national population and household projections as the starting point for assessing the need for housing within their area (as set out in the information given on the 'How Many Homes' website and in the recently published National Planning Practice Guidance). The projections don't provide 'the answer' but they are an important first step.
- In determining planning applications local authorities need to be aware of paragraphs 29 and 30 of the judge's decision which sets out that 'Having identified the full objectively assessed needs figure the decision maker must then consider the impact of the other policies set out in the NPPF' and 'The proper course involved assessing need, then identifying the unfulfilled need having regard to the supply of specific deliverable sites over the relevant period. Once that had been done it was necessary next to decide whether fulfilling the need in fact demonstrated (in common with the other factors relied on in support of the development) together clearly outweighed the identified harm to the Green Belt that would be caused by the proposed development.'