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Friday 15 April 2016

Council seeks Supreme Court ruling in bid to protect planning powers


Cheshire East is to seek a Supreme Court ruling in a bid to protect local planning powers and prevent developers ‘riding roughshod’ over councils’ development policies.

Cheshire East Council Cabinet is spearheading a landmark ‘leave to appeal’ to the highest court in the land to challenge a Court of Appeal ruling which undermines the scope and force of council planning policies to shape development.

The aim is to maintain the significance of Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans in determining applications for development even where a Council cannot show it has the required five-years’ deliverable housing land supply identified.

The Council’s decision follows a reversal in the Court of Appeal of Cheshire East’s earlier court success that had overturned a planning inspector’s decision to grant developer Richborough Estates permission to build 146 houses at Moorfields, in Willaston.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “We have thought about this long and hard and it is not something we do lightly. However, this court decision is too important to be allowed to go unchallenged.

“It is clear to us it would have deeply detrimental implications for councils across the country and their powers to protect local communities from unplanned and unsustainable development.

“We are a Council that puts its residents first and believe this action is necessary to protect local people, their communities and our beautiful Cheshire East countryside. Otherwise, developers will be able to ride roughshod over locally-decided development policies.”

Cheshire East’s Supreme Court legal challenge is a joint action with Suffolk Coastal District Council, which was also affected by the same High Court ruling regarding the weight, scope and force attached to council planning policies.

If the two authorities are granted leave to appeal, against the court’s interpretation of paragraph 49* of the government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the case will likely be heard by the Supreme Court in London later this summer.

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