Duncan England asked a number of questions in last week’s paper ‘Implications of a judicial review?’.
1. Will a judicial review (JR) stop the HDPF being implemented and for how long?
A successful JR could delay the HDPF but for a JR to be successful, there needs to have been a serious flaw in the process of the preparation of the plan.
The Inspector has not raised any such concerns and has already said that the housing strategy is sound. He did however insist that we increase our numbers to 800 homes per year over the Plan period 2011-2031. We are currently awaiting the Inspector’s Final Report.
If the JR is unsuccessful it is unlikely there would be a delay in the adoption of the plan. IF a JR is successful, the HDPF could not be implemented until any flaws in the process identified by the court had been corrected. It is unlikely that the court would focus on the planning merits of the plan.
The Government has already made it very clear that councils who do not have a plan, may have one imposed on them. Therefore any delay in the plan could mean that our housing numbers will increase further with potential pressure from London and the coast as well as any possible expansion of Gatwick Airport.
2. Will this review extend the time that developers have to build wherever they like as a five year supply will not be in place?
Until the council has an adopted local plan (HDPF) it will continue to be vulnerable to development across the whole district as we will not have a five year housing land supply.
3. Will this delay Neighbourhood Plans being fully implemented?
Neighbourhood Plans can be prepared in accordance with our existing Core Strategy. However, without an up to date adopted plan the council cannot prepare its Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and communities will miss out on the 25 per cent of CIL to spend as they wish on their local infrastructure needs.
4. Is it true the judicial review will not stop the North Horsham development?
As the Inspector has already commented on the soundness of the housing strategy and in particular the suitability of land north of Horsham for development, we are expecting a planning application on this land regardless of the position of the HDPF. If the planning application is refused, it is likely that the developers would appeal this decision. If the appeal is allowed, the council could be vulnerable to significant costs.
5. Is it therefore true that many more developments and houses will come forward in the interim to be built in the area?
Without a five year housing land supply the whole district will continue to be vulnerable to additional development over and above that allowed for in the HDPF.
(Con, Southwater) Cabinet Member for Planning and Development, Horsham District Council, Chart Way, Horsham
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