Tuesday, 08 February 2011 18:18

Court rules on regional strategies

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Court rules on regional strategies

THE intended abolition of regional strategies can be taken into account when making planning decisions, a court has ruled.

The judgment - in a High Court case brought by CALA Homes - confirms that the intended scrapping of regional strategies is a "material consideration".

This means it can be considered by local planning authorities and planning inspectors when making decisions.

The government has long announced its intention to abolish the strategies through the Localism Bill.

It received its second reading on 17 January 2011 in the House of Commons and is currently in committee stage.

Planning minister Bob Neill said: "We are determined to return decision-making powers to communities and provide powerful incentives so people can see the benefits of building more homes, and the Bill will help achieve this.

"This judgment makes it clear that planners can take into account the government's intention to do away with Regional Strategies.

Mr Neill said the coalition government had made a firm pledge to sweep away regional strategies.

"All they have produced is the lowest peacetime house building rates since 1924 and fuelled resentment in the planning process that has slowed everything down."

The government's New Homes Bonus Scheme would provide cash for communities that allow new homes to be built in their area, Mr Neill said.

Its Community Infrastructure Levy would also provide cash to be spent on local infrastructure.

Regional strategies were revoked on 6 July 2010 but were re-established last autumn after a successful challenge by housing developer CALA Homes.

The developer has lost a subsequent challenge to stop planners taking the intended revocation of the strategies into consideration when making planning decisions.

The weight given to any 'material consideration' depends on the individual circumstances and it is for the decision maker to decide on the appropriate weight.

This latest judgement will not affect decisions already made on planning applications.

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