Developer wins dispute with council over housing project

A developer has won a legal dispute with a local authority over its plans to build 145 homes and associated infrastructure.

The application was refused by the authority and so the developer appealed.


The appeal was heard by a planning inspector who considered whether the local authority was able to demonstrate a five-year supply for housing land. He preferred the developer’s evidence on the need for housing over that of the local authority, and allowed the appeal.


The case then went to the High Court. The local authority stated that its model for the housing need had involved an examination of the additional jobs that would be predicted per annum and, the relevant economic activity rate (EAR) derived from the proportion of people within the population who would be working and therefore taking up jobs.


It submitted that there was an inconsistency in the developer’s evidence on those issues. It argued that the inspector’s acceptance of the developer’s higher EAR assumptions as being more realistic was irrational, as was his acceptance of evidence infected by inconsistency.


The court found in favour of the developer. It held that the inspector had given clear and cogent reasons for accepting the developer’s evidence that higher rates of EAR than those used by the local authority were appropriate. The inconsistency in the evidence was not a principal issue about which the inspector was required to produce separate reasons beyond those he had given.


There was no error of law in the inspector’s decision.


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Case featured:


Developer wins dispute with council over housing project

[2016] EWHC 3329 (QB)
QBD (Dove J) 21/12/2016


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