Manchester City Council

Cheshire East Council

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Developer fails in High Court challenge to neighbourhood plan

Planning 146x219A developer has lost a court challenge over Leeds City Council's decision in November 2015 to allow a neighbourhood plan to go to a local referendum.

Housebuilder Kebbell Developments hopes to develop an area known as the Ridge, in Linton, which Leeds earmarked in 2006 for possible long term housing development

Collingham with Linton Parish Council opposes this and wants the site returned to green belt.

Kebbell argued that the neighbourhood plan was unlawful because it includes text in which the parish council effectively stated that the Ridge should not be developed even though Leeds had already designated the land as suitable for housing.

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A referendum approved the neighbourhood plan, but Kebbell said this unlawfulness meant it should be quashed.

Mr Justice Kerr said in his judgment that Kebbell had “clearly demonstrated a degree of tension between the content of the Linton neighbourhood plan and the content of the Leeds local plan.

“The former includes text which suggests the Ridge should not have dwellings built on it, and indeed should be returned to the green belt; the latter leaves open a distinct possibility that it should have dwellings built on it [but] that is not of itself sufficient to compel a finding of general discomformity between the two plans.”

He said while the neighbourhood plan included the parish council's opposition to housing development at the Ridge, “that does not mean that planning permission for future housing development of the Ridge would necessarily have to be refused” and that the National Planning Policy Framework would allow a developer to argue that the neighbourhood plan “should not be allowed…to promote less development than set out in the local plan or undermine its strategic policies”.

The judge dismissed Kebbell’s claim saying that a relatively minor deficiency found in the city council's decision making over the matter “is nowhere enough in itself to condemn the Linton neighbourhood plan and the referendum result approving it”.

Kebbell Developments’ managing director Nick Kebbell said: “The case we lost was nonetheless helpful with some clarifications and we are considering an appeal.”

Mark Smulian

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