LETTER: Judge comments on ‘bad decision’

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Some believe that if a Local Planning Authority (LPA) refuses a planning application for new houses, then their decision will inevitably be overturned if house building in the district has not kept up with the need, determined largely by population growth.

Accordingly, readers may be interested in the judge’s comments below, in the case of St Albans v Hunston Properties on 12 December 2013.

At the hearing it was suggested that an LPA would only have itself to blame for any shortfall in housing need, if this led to permission being granted on protected land.

However, the judge responded that ‘this is not a proper approach. Planning decisions are ones to be arrived at in the public interest, balancing all the relevant factors and are not to be used as some form of sanction on local councils. It is the community which may suffer from a bad decision, not just the local council or its officers’.

The judge seems to be advising councils not to passively permit planning applications in fear of appeal, simply because the LPA is behind its (five-year land supply) planning targets.

I don’t believe that he could not have made the position much clearer.


(UKIP) Horsham district councillor for Chanctonbury ward, North Street, Horsham