Ruling confirms limits on duty to cooperate

The Court of Appeal has confirmed that a council was not bound by the duty to cooperate because its core strategy was submitted before the requirement took effect.

The council had submitted a draft core strategy for examination under section 20 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. After the examination opened, the inspector decided it was not sound, but suspended the examination for six months so the council could modify it. Section 33A of the act, which imposed the duty to cooperate, came into force during this period.

When the examination resumed, the inspector ruled that the duty did not apply where a core strategy had already been submitted for examination. He subsequently found the strategy sound, subject to modifications, and it was then adopted. The claimants, who had significant land holdings in the district, argued that the strategy should have been completely rejected.

The High Court concluded that section 33A only applied when a local authority was preparing documents under section 19 of the act and not when the examination stage was reached. Lord Justice Sales endorsed this view. Section 33A clearly related to plan preparation and the council was not bound by the duty once the examination commenced, he ruled.

Case: Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) v Selby District Council; Date: 5 November 2015; Ref: (2015) EWCA Civ 1107


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