Sevenoak’s Should Apologise to Inspector After Local Plan Legal Challenge Failed


the Inspector concluded (as she was entitled to on the evidence before her) that at the time when the strategic issue in relation to unmet housing need crystallised, there was no constructive, active or ongoing engagement and, indeed, the matter was not raised with neighbouring authorities until after the Regulation 19 consultation on the SDLP and at a very late stage in plan preparation. Requests made of neighbouring authorities on the 11 April 2019 post-dated the Regulation 19 consultation and were shortly prior to the plan being submitted. In those circumstances the Inspector was entitled to conclude that these discussions were not taking place at a time when they could properly inform and influence plan preparation and maximise the effectiveness of that activity. As the Inspector recorded in paragraph 37, she found, as she was entitled to, that had engagement occurred after the Regulation 18 consultation and prior to the Regulation 19 consultation “it might have resulted in a more positive outcome”. Further, as the Inspector recorded, the possibility that it may have led to the same outcome was nothing to the point. Effective, constructive and active engagement had not taken place at the time when it was required. By the time there was communication in respect of the issue it was too late.

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