Council takes housing battle to high court
CHESHIRE East Council is appealing to the Supreme Court after a developer won an appeal against it’s refusal to allow 146 houses to be built in what could be a landmark ruling.
Richborough Estates, which was originally denied planning permission by the council for the development in Willaston near Crewe.
But the developer won an appeal because the council could not show it has a five-year supply of deliverable housing land.
Cheshire East mounted a High Court challenge and won, only for the Court of Appeal to quash it and rule in favour of the developer.
Now the council is spearheading a landmark ‘leave to appeal’ to the Supreme Court.
The decision could have implications for planning applications across the borough and the rest of the country.
Councillor Ainsley Arnold, cabinet member for housing and planning, said the challenge aims to preserve the significance of Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans in deter- mining applications for development even where a council cannot show it has the required fiveyears’ deliverable housing land supply. He said: “We have thought about this long and hard and it is not something we do lightly. However, this court decision is too important to be allowed to go unchallenged.
“It is clear to us it would have deeply detrimental implications for councils across the country and their powers to protect local communities from unplanned and unsustainable development.
“We are a Council that puts its residents first and believe this action is necessary to protect local people, their communities and our beautiful Cheshire East country- side.”
The focus of the challenge is the court’s interpretation of paragraph 49 of the government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which says that “relevant policies for the supply of housing should not be considered up-to-date if the local planning authority cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites”.
The council’s legal challenge is a joint action with Suffolk Coastal District Council, which was also affected by the same High Court ruling regarding the weight, scope and force attached to council planning policies.
If granted leave to appeal it is likely be heard by the Supreme Court in London this summer.