3 August 2015
Photo credit: La Citta Vita / Foter / CC BY-SA
Following a High Court challenge by West Berkshire Council and Reading Borough Council, Mr Justice Holgate has quashed the Government’s guidance relating to the 10 unit threshold for the provision of affordable housing, and it has quashed the policy on Vacant Building Credit. Paragraphs 012 to 023 of the National Planning Policy Guidance will therefore be removed.
The text of the judgement can be found here. In summary, Justice Holgate concluded that both policies lacked an evidential basis - rather, they were blanket policies conceived to stimulate higher numbers of developments on small and brownfield sites. Justice Holgate also highlighted the problem that the policies were introduced as guidance, rather than through primary legislation, bringing conflict with adopted development plan policies across the country.
The quashing of these policies will have immediate impacts on schemes currently being formulated or negotiated nationally. It will be interesting to see how the Government responds when Parliament returns on 7th September. They may seek to re-address limiting the provision of affordable housing through viability appraisals.