High Court victory – misapplication of NPPF, paragraph 14

A recent High Court decision saw in favour of our client and quashed an appeal dismissal for the erection of up to 28 residential dwellings on a site near Whitfield, Dover.

The scheme:

Our planning consultants provided full planning support on the scheme from its inception, preparing an outline planning application for the development of 28 dwellings and the construction of vehicular access.

We worked positively with the council, engaging and responding to pre-application discussions.  This fed into the scheme which was subsequently recommended for approval by the case officer at planning committee.

The challenge:

However, the scheme was refused at committee and even more surprisingly dismissed by the Planning Inspector at appeal, even though evidence and comments received during the application process indicated that such a decision was flawed.

The process:

Throughout the project the council was unable to demonstrate a 5 year land housing supply. Therefore, the NPPF ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ applied. Where there is an established housing need, policies which control housing should be considered out of date and development for new housing should be granted unless “the impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits” (NPPF, paragraph 14).

The sustainability credentials of the site had been robustly presented with additional significant input from various specialist consultants. The potential of the scheme to contribute significantly to social, economic and environmental sustainability had, in our view, more than met the requirements outlined in the NPPF and NPPG.

High Court decision:

We scrutinised both refusals and queried the application of Paragraph 14 by the Inspector.  We advised our client to take the case to the High Court and instructed Landmark Chambers to act on their behalf.

The High Court quashed the appeal dismissal on the grounds that the Inspector failed to properly apply Paragraph 14 of the NPPF and also identified that our Final Comments had not been placed before the Inspector during the appeal process, and had therefore not been taken into account.  Full costs were awarded to our client.

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