Anthony Crean Q.C. and Killian Garvey successfully represented Shropshire Council, who were bringing a claim, pursuant to section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, on the basis that an inspector erred in law.
The inspector appointed by the Secretary of State had granted planning permission for 68 dwellings on the basis that Shropshire Council did not have a five year supply of housing. In reaching this conclusion the inspector stated as follows:
… the Council are not at the current time sure what its FOAN (full objectively assessed housing need) is and that this work is yet to be undertaken. In such circumstances, I consider that if the Council does not have a FOAN, then it does not have a robust housing requirement and therefore it must follow that it cannot demonstrate it has a five year housing land supply.
Accordingly, the inspector simply rejected the Council’s case on this issue and then failed to form his own planning judgment in respect to the Council’s housing requirement. The claim was advanced on this basis.
The Secretary of State initially defended the claim on the papers, maintaining that the claim was unarguable. However, Ouseley J dismissed this contention in giving permission. Subsequently the Secretary of State conceded that the inspector’s decision should be quashed. The interested parties continued to resist the claim.
The matter was heard before Mrs Justice Lang, who held that the inspector was required to determine the Council’s current housing requirement and failed to do so. Accordingly, the decision was quashed.
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