High Court throws out challenges against Waverley Borough Council planning decisions

Published Monday, 5 November 2018

Find out more about the judge's decision.

Waverley Borough Council has successfully defended two High Court challenges against its Local Plan and a further High Court challenge against the Secretary of State’s decision to grant planning permission for Dunsfold Aerodrome.

The decision followed a hearing at the High Court on 9 and 10 October 2018 where local action groups POWCampaign Limited (POWCL) and CPRE Surrey claimed that the council and the Local Plan Inspector had unlawfully included 50% of the unmet need from Woking borough in the Local Plan, adopted by Waverley Borough Council in February this year.

The two claimants also asserted that the Inspector had failed to give adequate reasons as to why he had included a proportion of Woking’s unmet housing need in Waverley’s Local Plan.

However, Deputy High Court Judge, Ms Nathalie Lieven QC, rejected the claimants’ arguments and dismissed all the applications.

In dismissing the applications, the judge stated the Inspector took a “sensible, pragmatic and in my view lawful approach” in his assessment of Waverley’s approach to take on some of Woking’s unmet housing need. Commenting on the Inspector’s reasons, the judge said: “The critical point is that the central justification or reasons for the Inspector’s conclusions are clear on the level of housing requirement in the [Local Plan]. In my view they are here – it is clear why he reached the figure he did on unmet need. For these reasons I do not think that the Inspector and Waverley Borough Council erred in law in the adoption of the [Local Plan], and I reject the s.113 challenges.”

In a separate claim, POWCL challenged the decision of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to grant planning permission at Dunsfold Aerodrome. Planning permission was granted for a new settlement including 1,800 new homes, a new school, a community centre, business space and supporting infrastructure.

POWCL argued that planning permission had been granted on the basis of the wrongful inclusion of Woking’s unmet need in the Local Plan. The judge dismissed this claim, upholding the Secretary of State’s decision to grant planning permission for the development.

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