Courts Clarify how to Count the 6 week Period for Local Plan Challenges

Landmark

Lewis J today dismissed an application by Nottingham City Council to strike out a challenge under s 113 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 to the Greater Nottingham Aligned Core Strategies. The Council alleged that the challenge was out of time.

The document was adopted by Nottingham CC on a Monday. Applying Barker v Hambleton DC [2013] P.T.S.R. 41, the six week period for challenge under s 113(4) would have ended on the Sunday six weeks later. Lewis J accepted the Claimant’s submission that in such circumstances, as a matter of statutory construction the period should be taken to expire on the next day on which the Court Office is open, i.e. the following Monday. In doing so he applied the principle of law in Pritam Kaur v S Russell & Sons Ltd [1973] 1 Q.B. 336 to limitation periods under the Planning Acts.

A copy of the judgment is available here.

The point may however prove to be of limited importance once the provisions of Schedule 16 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 come into force. Section 113 PCPA 2004 will be amended to provide that the six week limitation period for challenging development plan documents will run from the day after adoption, rather than the day of adoption (thereby reversing the position Barker). As a result, the six week period for challenging a document adopted on a Monday will, once these provisions are in force, expire on the Monday six weeks later. The CJCA 2015 will also introduce leave requirements for claims under s 113 PCPA 2004 and statutory appeals under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Richard Turney acts for the Claimant, Calverton Parish Council. The substantive hearing of the claim is listed later this month.

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