Ribble Valley Council wins high court battle over decision to refuse housing

The High Court has quashed a Planning Inspector’s decision to allow a developer to build 39 homes in the Ribble Valley.

Friday, 19th November 2021, 3:45 pm

In Ribble Valley Borough Council v the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Oakmere Homes, His Honour Judge Bird ruled that the council’s application of local planning policy had been correct.

The council applied to the High Court to quash a decision by the Planning Inspectorate to allow an appeal by Oakmere Homes to build the houses at the junction of Chatburn Road and Pimlico Link Road in Clitheroe.

The council argued that the inspector had erred in law when making his decision on the basis that he had misinterpreted local planning policy set out in its Core Strategy.

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The matter will now be referred back to the Planning Inspectorate for reconsideration.

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government said he agreed with the council and did not participate in the hearing.

Ribble Valley Borough Council’s Core Strategy aims to protect open countryside from development.

And the successful delivery and defence of the Core Strategy was fundamental in the council’s decision to challenge the inspector’s decision.

In his ruling, His Honour Judge Bird quashed the decision by planning inspector Graham Robbie, saying: “The inspector’s decision is firmly rooted in a misunderstanding of the policy and so must be quashed.”

Nicola Hopkins, Ribble Valley Borough Council’s director of economic development and planning, said: “Our Core Strategy sets out what can be built in the borough and where, shaping infrastructure investments and determining future development.

“It seeks to direct housing to sustainable locations and protect the borough’s open countryside, which is a top priority.

“This ruling confirms the correct application of our Core Strategy and that development in the countryside will only be allowed when justified by local need.”

Ribble Valley Borough Council leader, Stephen Atkinson, said: “Our officers work hard to ensure the right type of development takes place in the right locations across the borough and we welcome this judgment, which has supported and protected our Core Strategy.

Judge Bird found in favour of Ribble Valley Borough Council and awarded costs against the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Oakmere Homes.

The matter will now be referred back to the Planning Inspectorate for reconsideration.

Judge Bird’s ruling can be read in full at ribblevalley.gov.uk.