The Grand Union/Dacorum Case on Early Review of Local Plans

Ballilaw, predictable result as there was no shortage in period before review of plan. Always pleased by a KitKat trouncing, though he does seem to persist to court of appeal and supreme court.

The key para

At the point of its adoption, therefore, the core strategy was a satisfactory strategy for the whole of its period, not just for part of that period. The purpose and effect of Main Modification 28 was to include in the document a means of ensuring that any shortfall in the provision of housing would be made good before it had any practical effect, and that the  Council ‘s strategy would remain sound at least until 2031. So it cannot be said that the  Council  was failing to plan for the whole plan period.

Resolution through an early review (as allowed by guidance) will not stop appeals being determined by the Liverpool method on the basis of best demographic estimates.  These wont constitute very special circumstances however in Green belt areas.  As guidance states plans can be found sound if the LPA has not been able to identify sites in years 10-15, but not being able is not teh same as not trying.  After Hunstan LPAs can no longer claim they don’t even need to look at Green Belt sites, but after Reigate Inspectors cannot require GB reviews, only suggest as one inspector did last week that ‘they would be helpful.  So it remains an option if an LPA  hasn’t suggested a strategic Green Belt review to kick the ball into the short grass for an early review, providing as in this Herts case the latest evidence on objectively assessed need suggests no short term shortage.  These cases will be rare though, and as the Herts joint SHMA is about to be published this option wont remain to other Herts LPAs who have yet to sublit like St Albans.  Of course St Albans could submit on the basis that an urban extension on its flank just over teh border with St Albans is the best option, quite reasonably, rendering this case rather mute as the the Dacorum CS would be rendered out of date overnight.

Oh the joys of the duty to fight like rats in the sack and pretend Green Belts can be planned non strategically.

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