Killian Garvey, acting for Beechcroft Land, assisted in securing a successful judgment in the matter of Chichester DC v (1) Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (2) Beechcroft Ltd  EWHC 2386 (Admin).
Killian Garvey had previously won an appeal decision Southbourne, Chichester for the Appellant on the basis that:
- the development was outside the settlement boundary and contrary to the development plan;
- the Council were shown to not have a 5 year housing land supply and thus their development plan was out of date;
- there was no conflict with the policies in the recently adopted Southbourne Neighbourhood Plan (‘NP’).
The relevant policy in the Southbourne NP read as follows:
The Neighbourhood Plan will support development proposals located inside the Settlement Boundaries of Southbourne/Prinsted, Nutbourne West and Hermitage/Lumley/Thornham, as shown on the Policies Map, provided they accord with other provisions of the Neighbourhood Plan and development plan.
The Inspector determining the appeal found that whilst this policy supported development inside Southbourne’s settlement boundary, it said nothing about development outside the settlement boundary.
The Council sought to challenge this decision, arguing that it was implicit from this policy that it did restrict development outside of Southbourne’s settlement boundary.
In dismissing the challenge, Upper Tribunal Judge Andrew Grubb (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) endorsed the Inspector’s conclusion. A particular point in favour of this interpretation was that the earlier draft of the policy was modified by the examination inspector, to remove any reference to development outside of settlement boundaries:
The Neighbourhood Plan will support development proposals located inside the Settlement Boundaries of Southbourne/Prinsted, Nutbourne West and Hermitage/Lumley/Thornham, as shown on the Polices Map, provided they accord with other provisions of the Neighbourhood Plan and development plan.
Development proposals outside the Settlement Boundary will be required to conform to development plan policy in respect of the control of development in the countryside.
This is plainly a significant case in the context of the interpretation of neighbourhood plans as well as development plan policies generally.
Killian Garvey was instructed by Paul Maile and Kate Barker from Eversheds Solicitors.
Guy Wakefield, assisted by Matt Tompkins, from Hunter Page had been the planning consultants at the inquiry who persuaded the Inspector of this interpretation of the relevant policies.
To view a copy of the judgement click here