Refusal of planning permission for housing ruled unlawful

A planning inspector’s refusal to grant permission for a housing development has been ruled unlawful by the High Court.

The case involved Green Lane Chertsey Developments and its proposal to build residential properties on three adjoining plots of land, some to the rear of existing houses. Runnymede Borough Council refused permission even though its planning officer recommended approval for some of the development.

Its report addressed the National Planning Policy Framework and accepted that the local authority was unable to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply (5YHLS). On appeal, the planning inspector found that the development would cause material harm to the character and appearance of the area and conflicted with the local plan.

Green Lane argued that the planning inspector had erred in law by failing to refer to the tilted balance in the NPPF para.11 in favour of approving developments. It said the inspector had also failed to have regard to the need for housing in the area.

The court ruled in favour of Green Lane.  It said it was surprising that the planning inspector had not mentioned the NPPF and the tilted balance. It was for the planning inspector to exercise his judgment, but it was to be assumed that he was aware of the tilted balance and, if he was disapplying it, he should have declared that.

The inspector's decision had been unlawful and was quashed. The matter was remitted for reconsideration.

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