Challenges to neighbourhood plans clarified by the Court of Appeal

Challenges to neighbourhood plans clarified by the Court of Appeal

Jonathan Easton recently appeared in the Court of Appeal on behalf of Fylde Borough Council in a case which has provided much needed clarity to those involved in neighbourhood plan-making and those affected by plan-making.

The judgment is significant for a number of reasons however the key highlights are as follows:

  • A challenge to a NDP must be brought within 6 weeks of the relevant decision in the plan-making process with no possibility of extending that time limit: Stage 1 - consideration by the LPA of the Examiner's Report; Stage 2 - decision relating to a referendum; Stage 3 - decision to 'make' (or not 'make') the NDP.
  • It is not permissable to wait until the last stage (the 'making' of the NDP) before commencing judicial review proceedings when in truth the substance of the challenge relates to an earlier stage of the process.
  • The requirement under s.38A(6) P&CPA 2004 to consider whether making a NDP would contravene any EU obligation or Convention right continues after the referendum.  

The Court of Appeal handed down judgment on Friday, a full copy of which can be viewed here.

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