Why do developers keep fighting no hope actions trying to block neighbourhood plans when the legislation is very cler they can come forward in advance of local plans? A good example is this weeks action by Gladmans in Winslow. After all if a local plan is out of date through lack of a 5 year supply an appeal should succeed under NPPF Para 14 even if the Neighbourhood Plan was made the day before?
The reason I think is a rather bizarre recovered appeal decision also in Winslow where this was just the issue, a neighbourhood plan had just been made and the local plan withdrawn from examination from lack of a 5 year supply/ Pickles found this rather uncomfortable and made policy up as he went along.
The Secretary of State r… considers that neighbourhood plans, once made part of the development plan, should be upheld as an effective meansto shape and direct development in the neighbourhood planning area in question. Paragraph 198 is clear that, where a planning application conflicts with a
neighbourhood plan that has been brought into force, planning permission should not normally be granted….
the Secretary of State places very substantial negative weight on the conflict between the appeal proposal and the Winslow Neighbourhood Plan even though its policies relevant to housing land supply are out of date in terms of Framework paragraph 49. He concludes that this and the other adverse impacts, together, would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies in the Framework taken as a whole. He therefore concludes that there are no material circumstances that indicate the proposal should be determined other than in accordance with the development plan.
In how many other cases has Pickles given little weight to out of date local plans? The weight given to material considerations is a matter for the decision maker but the word ‘together’ indicates that the development plan conflict was determinate, seemingly ignoring para 14 of the NPPF, and the fact tha para 198 needs to be read with Para 196 and 197. What the Sos seems to be arguing is that the NPPF should be read as a whole, but where there is a neighbourhood plan forget all of that and just read para. 198.
This is a bad decision because it provides a perverse decision to slow down on local plans and use neighbourhood plans which don’t allocate enough land as a blocking mechanism rather than the ‘positive and proactive’ mechanism to increase land allocations they were meant to be.
As in other areas, such as Green Belt reviews and Windfarms, Pickles and Lewis seem to be undermining the NPPF and giving nods and winks to friendly local authorities on how to do so.
I am not arguing this site should be developed or allocated, but Pickles is playing silly games and deserves to lose this JR.