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High Court Boosts Rural Housebuilding Proposals

Houses near riverThe pressing need for more housing in many parts of the country has in some ways eased the path of would-be developers. In one case, a company’s persistence paid off when its hopes of constructing more than 170 new homes in a rural area were boosted by a High Court ruling.

The housebuilding proposals in respect of two separate sites had been turned down by the local authority and a government planning inspector. The latter found that, although there was a shortfall in housing land supply in the broader district, there was no urgent necessity for more homes in the particular area concerned.

Notwithstanding the benefits of the two developments, which would each include a substantial proportion of affordable housing, the inspector found that grants of planning consent would unacceptably prejudice the council’s long-term housing strategy and divert growth away from an existing built-up area.

In overturning the inspector’s decision, the Court found that it was infected by procedural unfairness in that he had relied upon points which had neither been raised nor argued before him. His reasoning on certain important issues was also inadequate. The Court’s decision entitled the company to a full reconsideration of its proposals by the Department for Communities and Local Government.