See here. The Vagueness of the NPPF on this issue comes home to roost with most of the main parties at this examination offering conflicting legal opinions.
Peter Village QC on behlaf of the NPPF argues that Hunston mean that the objective need must be met and full and must be met every year, irrectove of onstrstructure constraints/ ‘Liverpool’ in other words.
Morag Eliis on behalf of the councils argues
The Councils note that several Core Strategies have been found sound at Examination include a similar approach to varying housing delivery across their
plan periods, in particular Taunton Deane, Greater Norwich and South Gloucestershire (Inspector’s reports 3 July 2012, 13 November 2013 and 15 November 2013).
Morags argument simply is that ‘need’ in the NPPF means what it says, need. And it is then a matter of policy where and when that need is allocated in line with other NPPF policies.
I agree with the HBF Opinion insofar as it states:
(i) that “full, objectively assessed needs” means what it says; it is a policy-neutral figure;
(ii) that the subsequent application of policy considerations to that figure, which might justify a reduction, is an exercise which must
confine itself to NPPF-derived policy considerations.
However, nothing in the Opinion seems to me to justify the conclusions of lack of soundness or potential unlawfulness.
It seems obvious that Morag is right on this issue. Whatever is the merits of Liverpool or Sedgefield in thsi cae it is a matter of policy judgement not lawfulness. All piss and wind from the NBF on this one.