Latest planning news

6 November 2018

Planning permission refused: conservation village of Boxford protected from further housing development
This s.78 planning appeal related to proposed housing development in the conservation village of Boxford.

The decision is of interest because it concerns the operation of paragraph 109 of the new NPPF in relation to highway safety in respect of an appeal where the Highway Authority had not objected on highway grounds.
David Lintott acted for the Local Planning Authority in the Inquiry. Paul Shadarevian QC acted for the Appellant, Artisan Planning and Property Services.

11 October 2018

Fracking injunction before High Court
Estelle Dehon will be in the High Court asking for an interim injunction preventing Cuadrilla from fracking to be extended.

The injunction was granted on 5 October and prevents Cuadrilla from carrying out any hydraulic fracturing operations at the Preston New Road site (including oil/gas wells designated PNR-1z or PNR 2) until the hearing.
Estelle is representing a local resident whose claim highlights inadequacies in the emergency and health and safety planning for the fracking operations on the site.

24 July 2018

The government published the new National Planning Policy Framework and associated documents

The Secretary of State, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, described it as a new planning rulebook to deliver more quality, well-designed homes in areas where they are needed. The government claims it will also:

make it easier for councils to challenge poor quality and unattractive development and give communities a greater voice about how developments should look and feel.

Inspector declares proposals for 3 garden communities in north Essex unsound

Controversial proposals for 3 garden communities in north Essex, promoted jointly by Braintree DC, Colchester BC and Tendring DC in a Joint Strategic (Section 1) Local Plan, have been declared unsound by the local plan inspector, Roger Clews, following an examination held earlier this year.
The proposals were opposed by local residents and affected landowners.
The main active opposition came from CAUSE (Campaign Against Urban Sprawl in north Essex) and SERCLE (a grouping of local parish councils).

Martin Edwards from Cornerstone Barristers advised CAUSE in the run-up and throughout the examination.

Prime Minister launches NPPF consultation

Mon 5 March 2018: the Prime Minister announced the amendments to the NPPF. The consultation on the new NPPF rules closes on 10 May.

The proposed changes largely incorporate the proposals that have already been consulted on. Additionally, there is codification of guidance issued since the NPPF was first published, including 10 Written Ministerial Statements. 

The 10 key headlines to note are:

  1. Changes to the presumption in favour of sustainable development.
  2. Clarification on the need for viability assessments and, where they are needed, an expectation they will be available to the public.
  3. The new standardised methodology for calculating needs is introduced, however, it is unclear whether this is the same methodology as the Right Homes in the Right Places consultation.
  4. There is a presumption of meeting affordable housing on site.
  5. The housing delivery test, trailed in the Housing White Paper, is introduced and clarification around engagement of tilted balance. There is also greater clarity on the role of neighbourhood plans in delivering housing and the role of planning authorities to assist them to come forward before a strategic plan is in place.
  6. Changes to the sequential approach to town centre uses.
  7. Green Belt policy remains very strong.
  8. Enhanced protection for the natural environment.
  9. Clarification following the case law, that decision-makers should give great weight to a heritage asset’s conservation irrespective of the level of harm.
  10. A new section on oil, gas and coal exploration.

Dr Ashley Bowes

Time is of the essence

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council successfully resisted an application by 10 Gypsy families to vary an injunction obtained pursuant to s.187B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, to permit their residential occupation of a site in the countryside.

The injunction was obtained after the Gypsies had begun works on a site but before they had moved in.

The Injunction was not varied and the Defendants' application was dismissed so that the court’s authority and the planning system were not undermined.

The judgment gave a clear signal that strong arm tactics to bypass or unfairly influence planning decisions will not be tolerated.

David Lintott acted for the successful Respondent local authority.

Know your risk: CDM Regs

A property development and renting company is one of the first to be prosecuted under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

This case is of upmost importance to local authorities, developers, public and statutory bodies, and the financial sector because, for the first time, the client is primarily legally responsible to ensure that health and safety responsibilities in construction are adequately managed.

In essence, the Regulations make the commercial client responsible for the entire safety of the project.
If found guilty (or pleading guilty) under the appropriate sentencing guidelines that trigger, on mere risk and not requiring injury or death, fines in excess of £10 million for large companies and imprisonment of individuals are on the horizon.

In the present case, the company commenced the project just before the new regulations came into effect so the prosecution had to withdraw the charges, substituting them for the 2007 Regulations, which placed much less onus on the client.
After a series of hearings the court imposed a fine of £18,000 rather than the original £1.3 million, but this approach will become more difficult as most projects would have commenced after April 2015.
Gerard Forlin QC acted for the defendant company.