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New Housing and Planning Bill has been introduced to Parliament by the government ... more
 
Affordable housing: David Cameron's starter homes plan is not the solution ... more
 
Court of Appeal gives DCLG permission to appeal affordable homes threshold ruling ... more
 
More people in UK back new homes being built in their area, according to new survey ... more
 
Labour pledges to recapture 'post-war spirit' of housebuilding ... more
 
Affordable Housing Contributions (Ten Unit Threshold) Bill 2014-15 ... more
 
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HBF Member Briefing: 'Starter Home' Initiative ... more
 
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Planning Minister Nick Boles publishes final version of new online planning guidance ... more
 
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Radical changes needed for private rented sector - Sir Adrian Montague's review ... more
 
 
 
Court of Appeal gives DCLG permission to appeal affordable homes threshold ruling
28 September 2015 by
Jamie Carpenter, planningresource.co.uk

The government has been granted permission to appeal against a High Court ruling that forced ministers to remove a policy to exempt small developments from affordable housing contributions from national planning practice guidance.

The High Court ruling, handed down in July, quashed the policy, which excluded developments of ten homes or fewer, or 1,000 square metres or less in floorspace, from the requirement to provide or contribute to affordable housing.

The ruling, which followed a legal challenge launched by Reading Borough Council and its neighbour West Berkshire District Council, prompted the removal of paragraphs from a section on planning obligations in the national planning practice guidance related to the small development policy as well as the vacant building credit.

Mr Justice Holgate's judgment had said that the guidance contravened the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004's presumption in favour of the development plan, and that the consultation process had been unfair.

At the time, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said it would be seeking permission to appeal against the judge's decision, as it would have a 'disproportionate impact on smaller builders who are important in providing homes for local communities'.

In a statement today, a DCLG spokesman said: 'We can confirm we have been granted permission to appeal against the judge's decision on the West Berkshire and Reading court case.'

Following the ruling, builders warned that the removal of the guidance would lead to fewer homes being built as small firms respond by avoiding attempting to develop certain sites.

The ruling also posed problems for a number of local planning authorities. A clutch of local plans, including adopted plans and documents submitted for examination, contained affordable housing policies informed by the now-revoked guidance.

The judgment also created difficulties for councils that had incorporated the now-deleted guidance into their draft Community Infrastructure Levy charging schedules, typically opting to charge higher rates for smaller residential schemes because of higher levels of viability resulting from the affordable housing exemption.
 
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