Cheshire East Council is awaiting the ruling of five Supreme Court judges in its joint appeal over the interpretation of the National Planning Policy Framework and the impact of the requirement for a five year housing land supply contained within it.
The council is arguing that the NPPF fails to attach sufficient importance and weight to local plans and neighbourhood plans when planning decisions are taken.
The council’s submission stems from a Court of Appeal decision which ruled against the authority in the case of Richborough Estates and the developer’s plans for 170 homes in the green gap at Moorfields in Willaston near Nantwich.
The joint application to the Supreme Court is with Suffolk Coastal District Council, which has put forward the same argument that local plans and neighbourhood plans should be given due weight where a five-year housing supply cannot be identified.
Councillor Ainsley Arnold, cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “The Court of Appeal decision, which went against us, was too important to ignore.
“This is about Cheshire East Council standing up for our residents where we feel the planning policies in adopted local and neighbourhood plans can be too easily set aside on appeal.
“It takes years to prepare such plans with full community involvement and complex examination, and yet they can be deemed ‘out of date’ on the turn of a housing supply calculation.
“This loophole allows housing schemes to go ahead in the face of long-term planning policies such as green gap, protected landscapes or historic environments.
“We feel we had little choice but to test this, along with another planning authority, by going to the Supreme Court in the interests of our residents and to obtain clarity in the interpretation of the NPPF.”
If the two councils are successful with their joint appeal, then it could impact on future planning decisions and appeals across the country.
The Supreme Court ruling is expected at a later date and follows a two-day hearing in February.
As the hearing was web streamed it can still be viewed at http://bit.ly/2m9ET1x