Planning reports on the determination of the high court case regarding a recovered Sandbach appeal that seemed to define the Secretary of State’s new policy on prematurity. The outcome seemed inevitable after the Secretary of State agreed to redetermine another case where the policy had been applied at Barton Farm Winchester last week.
However in this case
Although Pickles was being challenged for dismissing the scheme on prematurity grounds (that it would prejudice the work on the LDF), the judge ruled that, as this was not the sole reason for his refusal, the secretary of state was entitled to reach this conclusion….
But the judged ruled that Pickles’ decision was unlawful because it was inconsistent with his decision on another scheme for 269 homes on a greenfield site in Hind Heath Road, Sandbach by Richborough Estates.
The judge said the secretary of state should have considered both schemes together because there were “obvious conflicts” between the two decisions.
I have covered the Hind Heath Road appeal before. Citing it as an example of a site which was refused before the NPPF but would have to be approved afterwards.
However in that case the SoS concluded:
The proposed development is of a size sufficient to substantially prejudice the LDF by pre-determining decisions about the scale and location of new development which are being addressed in the preparation of the Core Strategy. It is accepted that development should not be refused solely on the grounds of prematurity. But this scheme is also contrary to the development plan, contrary to wider planning objectives and contrary to the spatial vision for the area.
So all the SoS needed to have done and will do is use consistent language. In effect the developers have lost the case. In any event in a couple of weeks time we will have a revised policy on prematurity in the NPPF.