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Neighbourhood Development Plan Receives Judicial Blessing

Open landNeighbourhood development plans (NDPs) have excited much controversy since their introduction by the Localism Act 2011 and a case in which a disappointed housebuilder complained that its land had not been allocated for development was true to form.

The company’s land was viewed as a potential site for housing but was not one of three sites allocated for development in an NDP which was approved by a strong majority following a public referendum. The company had objected to the process throughout, insisting that adoption of the NDP would not be lawful.

The company’s judicial review challenge to the NDP was dismissed by a judge and, in rejecting its appeal against that decision, the Court of Appeal could find no fault in his ruling. The Court rejected the company’s arguments that site allocation policies could not be included lawfully in an NDP and that a strategic environmental assessment of the plan had wrongly been dispensed with.