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Saturday 16 July 2016

Council given green light to seek landmark Supreme Court ruling to protect planning powers


Cheshire East has been granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court to seek legal protection for local planning powers.

The aim is to prevent developers ‘riding roughshod’ over councils’ development policies.

Cheshire East Council Cabinet is spearheading an appeal to the highest court in the land to seek to overturn 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 legal fight 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 are delighted we have been granted leave to take this case to the Supreme Court.

“We thought about this decision to mount a legal challenge long and hard and it is not something we have done lightly. However, this matter is too important to be allowed to go unchallenged.

“It is clear to us that the Appeal Court ruling would have severely detrimental implications for all councils and their powers to protect their 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 rich and varied Cheshire East countryside. We do not want to be left vulnerable to developers who would 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 Court of Appeal ruling regarding the weight, scope and force attached to council planning policies.

The two authorities have been granted leave to appeal against the court’s interpretation of paragraph 49* of the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The case is due to be heard by the Supreme Court in London sometime between April and July next year (2017).

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