Friday, 29 April 2016

Time marches on

I am acutely aware of the hiatus in posting material on this blog in the past couple of weeks. As longer-standing readers will be aware from previous experience, this happens from time to time when I am really busy.

There are several topics on which I intend to blog “when I get a round tuit”. One of these is (or was) the important Court of Appeal decision in Suffolk Coastal DC v Hopkins Homes [2016] EWCA Civ 168, which clarified the interpretation of paragraphs 47 and 49 of the NPPF in relation to how the requirement to demonstrate that the LPA has a 5-year housing land supply is to be dealt with, and the consequences that follow where such a 5-year supply cannot be shown.

I have written “was” above, because both Cheshire East DC (who were involved in a similar case) and Suffolk Coastal DC are seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. They have first to surmount the hurdle of actually getting permission to go to the Supreme Court, but I would guess that they stand a reasonable chance of getting that permission in view of the importance of the issues that this and other related cases have thrown up. If so, then the two councils are hoping that the case will be heard by the Supreme Court later this summer.

In the circumstances, I may delay for the time being commenting on the Court of Appeal decision in Suffolk Coastal, until we know whether this case will in fact be going to the Supreme Court.

In addition to this, there are several issues arising from the amendments to the GPDO that came into effect earlier this month which I still want to cover (not to mention some points that arise from the 2015 Order itself).

There are also some other judgments that deserve attention, involving the non-applicability of the ejusdem generis rule in construing a planning permission and, in another case, the issue of agricultural buildings in the Green Belt. There has also been an interesting appeal decision on concealed development, and one or two other appeal decisions which readers and colleagues have drawn to my attention.

Finally, the Housing and Planning Bill is close to completing its passage through parliament, and should receive Royal Assent before the end of the parliamentary session next month. I have refrained from commenting on the Bill while it was still subject to amendment but, once it is on the statute book, it would clearly merit attention.

So watch this space in the coming weeks and months.


1 comment:

  1. Quite.

    I think there is a general point that comes from these and other cases (such as the government's forced U-turn on affordable housing limits in rural areas last year) that perhaps LPAs and developers (and planning inspectors) would all be well advised to keep a cool head when issues are still subject to further challenge.

    Standing back from all of this, how did we get to the position where we have to wait for an issue to filter through lower courts and up before we can say we know what government policy is?