Housebuilder’s defeat of Pickles ‘a hollow victory’

A High Court ruling on Wednesday that Communities Secretary Eric Pickles acted unlawfully when he abolished Regional Spatial Strategies will lead to more uncertainty and further delays in planning applications for new housing schemes, DLA Piper said.

In a case brought by housing developer Cala Homes, the High Court ruled Pickles was unlawful in scrapping regional targets for new housing units to be delivered each year in a local authority area.

Kate Creer, planning partner at law firm DLA Piper, said: "This is a hollow victory which will only heap more confusion onto a process which is still reeling from the changes made in July.

"Scrapping spatial strategies created a policy vacuum and many local authorities have since been trying to put their own strategies in place without any guidance. This decision effectively takes these authorities back to square one.

"However, it is unlikely to mean that housing developments rejected since July will now go ahead. With the government promising to legislate for planning reform in the near future, we are likely to see local authorities dragging their feet and using stalling tactics until then.

"This is a step backwards which will create more uncertainty for the development industry at a time when few firms can afford it."

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