Monday, 29 November 2010

Round 2 to Cala Homes


Cala Homes have obtained interlocutory relief in the High Court in their bid to prevent the Secretary of State from treating his intention to abolish Regional Strategies as a material consideration in the determination of current planning applications and appeals.

Cala’s renewed application to the High Court has been expedited and the Chief Planner’s letter (in which the Secretary of State’s intention to treat his intention to abolish RS as a material consideration was reiterated) has been stayed pending a full hearing.

This interlocutory ruling does not necessarily indicate the way the case will ultimately be decided, but it does have the effect of ensuring that, until that hearing, those Regional Strategies which have been formally adopted will remain in full force and effect, and the Secretary of State’s continuing determination to revoke them is not (for the time being) capable of being a material consideration in those cases that are about to be determined.

So Regional Strategies, where adopted, remain an integral part of the Development Plan and decisions must be made in accordance with that plan (in accordance with Section 38(6) of the 2004 Act) unless material considerations – which cannot now include the forthcoming abolition of the Regional Strategy – indicate otherwise.

No doubt everyone will await the third and final round of this litigation (the substantive hearing in the High Court) with great interest.

Update (3 Dec): Apparently, Uncle Eric isn’t happy with the interlocutory Order made by the High Court staying the effect of the letter from his Department which sought to make his intention to scrap regional strategies a material consideration in the determination of current applications and appeals. So the government’s lawyers are now trying to get the stay removed. Initial indications had been that the substantive hearing in the High Court might be later this month, but latest indications are that it will not now take place until some time in the New Year. I don’t know whether the Department will be seeking an interlocutory hearing in the meantime on their application to lift the temporary stay on the infamous letter, but no doubt that will become clear in the near future.

© MARTIN H GOODALL

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