Stevenage Borough Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWHC 3136 (Admin)
Planning – regional strategies – material considerations – planning inspectors – soundness
The proposed abolition of regional strategies could be taken into account by local authorities when preparing development plan documents. The Court of Appeal’s decision in Cala Homes did not require general conformity with the extant regional strategy at the preparatory stage.
1 December 2011
(i) Stevenage Borough Council (S) sought to challenge by way of judicial review decision of the Secretary of State’s planning inspector that S’s core strategy was unsound. The core strategy included a plan to build houses in the area of North Hertfordshire District Council (N). However, after it had been announced that regional strategies were to be abolished, N decided to withdraw co-operation with S and adopt its own local development scheme. The inspector recommended that S’s core strategy was unsound because the cross-border issue with N had not been resolved and so the housing numbers would not be delivered. S argued that the inspector’s decision was unlawful because (1) N’s local development scheme should have complied with the regional strategy even if it was soon to be abolished; and (2) that in light of the decision in R (Cala Homes (South) Ltd) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWCA Civ 639, N should not have had regard to the potential abolition of regional strategies in preparing development plan documents.
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