The inspector determined that the scheme would provide much-needed affordable housing. The city council complained that this view was contrary to a previous inspector's decision in 2002, when an appeal for a similar scheme was rejected. The first inspector had found fault with the company's plans to sell some of the houses at 15 per cent below market value, concluding that this would make only a small number of properties available to households in need.
Deputy judge James Goudie QC agreed that the second inspector had failed to properly assess whether the houses would be affordable in the context of a local plan policy. Finding that the inspector had failed to set out his reasons for departing from his colleague's earlier conclusions, the judge held that the council had been substantially prejudiced by a legally flawed decision.
Oxford City Council v First Secretary of State; Date: 29 October 2004; Ref: CO/2767/2004.