#NPPF – St Albans Confuses Displacement of Need with Reduction of Need
The landmark Hunstan case at St Albans has gone to the court of appeal. The case rested on the inspector basing the 5 year supply on the revoked East of England Plan and not the full objectively assessed need.
A spokeswoman for SADC said: “The grounds of appeal are that the High Court erred in law by wrongly interpreting paragraph 47 of the NPPF as requiring the housing requirement figure in calculation of a five year housing land supply to be the objectively assessed housing need figure without any potential reduction through achieving consistency with other parts of the NPPF.”
That we would come to this is predictable as we said on here many times if you revoke regional plans how do you assess the basis for the 5 year supply without making every appeal a dray run of the local plan examination?
The objection seems to be based on the following part of para 47.
use their evidence base to ensure that their Local Plan meets the full, objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing in the housing market area, as far as is consistent with the policies set out in this Framework,
However the basis of the challenge is curious as even if successful the appeal would have to be rerun as the inspector regarded an immaterial planning consideration (a revoked plan, as distinct from the evidence underlying it) as material. The Court of Appeal move is a delaying tactic.
The argument seems to be that because St Albans has so much Green Belt meeting the ‘full’ need for housing would be contrary to the NPPF. No inspector has accepted this argument. The NPPF makes a clear distinction between sustainability habitat constraints – in para 9 which have been found to be an exception to providing full need and other policy constraints which determine where development goes. NPPF para 182 makes clear that the objectively assessed need should be met including in neighbouring authorities where necessary whilst para. 83 makes clear than on plan review LPAs should consider whether Green Belt Belt boundaries can be maintained permanently and para 85 makes clear that these boundaries should
ensure consistency with the Local Plan strategy for meeting identified requirements for sustainable development;
There is no case then that the full need should not be met rather St Albans would be much better arguing the recent Thundersely precedent at a reopened appeal, that pra. 83 states
Once established, Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances, through the preparation orreview of the Local Plan.