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East Bergholt Parish Council v Babergh District Council and others – 7 December 2018


This is an interesting case reported today concerning a decision in the High Court. The Claimant was the Parish Council for the village of East Bergholt in Suffolk which challenged a planning decision of the local planning authority, Babergh District Council (“the Council”). The decision under challenge was to grant 3 planning permissions for a total of 229 new homes to be built around East Bergholt. 

 It was alleged by the Claimant that the 3 applications for planning permission were not in accordance with the local Development Plan and planning permission was granted as a result of the application of what has been called the tilted balance under the National Planning Policy Framework. This means that if a local planning authority cannot demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply (“5YHLS”) the balance tilts in favour of sustainable development justifying the grant of planning permission, notwithstanding the local plan. Paragraph 47 of the National Planning Policy Framework sets out as follows:-

 “47. To boost significantly the supply of housing, local planning authorities should…identify and update annually a supply of specific deliverable sites sufficient to provide five years’ worth of housing against their housing requirements with an additional buffer of 5% (moved forward from later in the plan period) to ensure choice and competition in the market for land. Where there has been a record of persistent under delivery of housing, local planning authorities should increase the buffer to 20% (moved forward from later in the plan period) to provide a realistic prospect of achieving the planned supply and to ensure choice and competition in the market for land…”

 The High Court judge, Sir R. Cranston found that the Claimant’s complaint was not really about the planning decisions made by Babergh District Council but in reality was an attack on the assessment of the 5YHLS. The Claimant’s application for judicial review of the decisions to grant planning to build the new homes was dismissed.

If you are interested in finding out what the 5 year housing land supply is in your area,  these reports provide for the Yorkshire and Humber  and the North West regions.

If you need assistance with a property or planning issue, Contact Us today.

Written by Claire Stewart

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