John Hunter successfully defends housing land supply reasoning behind Harrogate housing consent.

The High Court has dismissed a claim for judicial review of a decision by Harrogate Borough Council to grant planning permission for 21 new dwellings in Bickerton, North Yorkshire.

The decision was challenged on essentially three grounds:

  1. That the Council had determined the application on the basis that there was a shortfall in the minimum required five-year supply when, even on the Council’s most recent assessment, there was a ‘marginal’ five-year supply;
  2. That it had failed to have regard to the 2016-based ONS household projections which were published shortly before the meeting which, when the new ‘standard methodology’ was applied, meant that there was a significant over-supply; and
  3. That it had failed to give adequate reasons for its conclusions on the five-year supply.

The judge (His Honour Judge Klein, sitting as a judge of  the High Court) dismissed all three grounds finding that (a) the Council had not proceeded on the basis that there was a shortfall in the five-year supply but had instead applied the presumption on the basis that the most important policies for determining the application were nevertheless out-of-date for other reasons, (b) the Council had been entitled to treat the 2016-based ONS household projections as immaterial (or alternatively they were highly unlikely to have made any substantial difference to the outcome) given that the Council is promoting a new Local Plan with a higher housing requirement than indicated by the standard methodology under the transitional provisions in the new NPPF and (c) it was a reasonable inference that the decision was based on the reasoning in the officers’ report and there was no duty on the Council to give any additional reasons pursuant to the judgment of the Supreme Court in R (CPRE Kent) v Dover CC [2019] 1 WLR 108.

A discussion of the judgment and its implications can be found here 

A copy of the judgment is available here

John Hunter appeared on behalf of Harrogate Borough Council.


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