Property Week on Solihull
The Court of Appeal’s decision was issued at the end of December and was unequivocal. The leading judgement was given by Lord Justice Laws, who said that while there are similarities between the NPPF and previous planning policy “there are also significant changes”. Laws also concluded the council’s redrawing of its greenbelt was unjustified.”The NPPF indeed effected a radical change,” he said. “It consisted in the two-step approach which paragraph 47 enjoined. The previous policy’s methodology was essentially the striking of a balance. By contrast, paragraph 47 required an objectively assessed need to be made first,” Laws said. The council should pay heed to this figure in the local plan, except in the event that the figure was in conflict with other NPPF policies,
The implications of the Court of Appeal ruling also have wider relevance. According to Gilbey’s colleague Jennifer Holgate, an associate in the planning team at Pinsent Masons, the High Court and Court of Appeal rulings have been noted by councils, housebuilders and their representatives, and others.
“There have been a huge number of submissions by interested parties,” she says. “They’ve all had to refer to the judgement. People in the housing industry are saying they don’t think the two-step approach has been followed by a lot of authorities. And the Planning Inspectorate has been asked specific questions by local authorities on how they should deal with the judgement. They need to get it right.”