Judge dismisses housebuilder's bid to sink neighbourhood plan

A housebuilder has failed in its High Court attempt to block the adoption of an East Midlands neighbourhood plan that passed referendum in July.

Referendum: claimant has failed in its challenge to decision to allow plan to proceed to a vote
Referendum: claimant has failed in its challenge to decision to allow plan to proceed to a vote

Housebuilder Larkfleet Homes Limited applied for a judicial review to challenge the decision of Rutland County Council to allow the Uppingham Neighbourhood Development Plan to proceed to a neighbourhood planning referendum, in which it was endorsed by more than 90 per cent of voters on a 26 per cent turnout.

The neighbourhood plan, a government-designated "front runner", proposes at least 170 homes between 2013 and 2026, allocating three sites for development in the market town.

Larkfleet Homes, which has an interest in a 4.1 hectare plot near the town - which was not one of those selected to feature in the neighbourhood plan - fiercely objected to the process.
But High Court judge Mr Justice Collins this week dismissed the housebuilder’s arguments that the legislation does not permit specific allocation of sites within neighbourhood development plans.

Also rejected were complaints that the referendum covered too wide an area and that the three selected sites should have been subjected to environmental assessment.

In ruling on the company’s judicial review challenge, the High Court noted that much of the underlying legislation, including parts of the Localism Act 2011, were "not always well drafted" and that that was likely to produce over-complexity and lengthy processes which would do nothing to reduce expense.

R on the Application of Larkfleet Homes Limited v Rutland County Council. Case Number: CO/3063/2014

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